At 231.6 kilometres, Thursday's marathon stage was still the longest course in the Giro even after being shortened. For the men in the breakaway, this meant about 185 kilometres off the front – almost four and a half hours of hard riding. Understandably, each man hoped to cash in those calories burned for some podium time, but there is only room for one man on the top step.
Matteo Priamo (CSF Group Navigare) emerged victorious, besting Alan Pérez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), with Nikolai Trusov (Tinkoff) in third and Paul Martens (Rabobank) in fourth. While Giovanni Visconti and Matthias Russ focused on the overall classification, Jason McCartney (Team CSC), Magnus Backstedt (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Daniele Nardello (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre) and Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) were left empty-handed at the day's end.
Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre):
"I'm happy because I was in the right breakaway, but I hoped to get something more important," said Gavazzi. "Over the past few days I suffered from pain in my ankle, and today the pain decreased so I was able to pedal in a good way. When Priamo and Pérez attacked in the final kilometres, I tried to follow them and I almost succeeded in doing it, but then I was not brilliant enough to chase them in the climb."
Kim Andersen (CSC director):
"They fought really hard to get away at the beginning of the stage. For the first two hours the average speed was about 50 kilometres per hour – and it wasn't because the route was flat that's for sure. As planned Jason made the break but unfortunately he wasn't quite strong enough when the whole thing was decided.
"Today's stage shows that this year's Giro is very unpredictable and most definitely good entertainment. The tactical play for the lead means there are a lot of breaks and the fact that the final week is as tough as it is, means that the main favorites are nervous about exposing themselves too early in the game," said Kim Andersen following the stage.
Paul Martens (Rabobank):
Rabobank's Paul Martens was one of the initiators of the breakaway, which went after the top the day's only classified climb. Making the decisive move was on the Dutch man's agenda, and he felt fortunate to make it. "It is difficult; on days like this, two-thirds of the pack wants to be on an escape. Yesterday, I focused on Jens Voigt; he always wants to jump away," Martens described on the team's website, rabobank.nl. But it is impossible to focus on just one person, though. It is matter of some gambling and having very good legs."
After Priamo and Pérez escaped in the final ten kilometres, Martens bided his time and ultimately rode to fourth place. "I tried to keep up the pace so we would have a chance on the final climb, but everyone looked at everyone. At a certain moment there is no point in waiting anymore, and then I took off."
"When such an escape succeeds you want to win, so in that sense I am a bit disappointed," said the rider. "But finishing with the first five in the first week of my first major tour is also obviously satisfying."
A newcomer to the race, Martens is determined to show his talents again. "You end up in the history books when you win a stage. That is a major incentive to try again in the second or third week. I do not want to be just pack fill; that is just not my attitude."
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana):
"It was hard," Iglinsky described on the team's website astana-cyclingteam.com. "Maybe I let a chance go by to win a Giro stage. Priamo and Pérez were not better than the others but they played it very well tactically. We all made the mistake to look at Visconti. Visconti did not react and the two were gone! It is a pity, but the Giro is not over yet and I will try again. Now I cannot think about it, I am too tired. Anyway I am happy that my condition is better now. The last few days I suffered a bit with my health and I'm happy it's going better now."
Frans Maassen (Rabobank manager):
"We sensed that Liquigas was not going to defend the pink jersey at all costs. Danilo Di Luca's LPR [team] had also that figured out. They rode like crazy but could not close the gap. That is why [the break] got a lot of space very quickly. Too much space; that is why it became a poker game in our group."