Colombian still flighting for pink
In the snow and rain of the Giro d'Italia's 16th stage, the only sign of Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) on the ascents of the Gavia and the Stelvio was the pink handlebar tape on the maglia rosa's bike.
By the end of the stage, the leaders' pink jersey was easy to spot with cameras focused on Urán — who had removed his black rain jacket — as he tried to minimise the damage done by countryman and rival, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who was dancing away on the pedals to a memorable stage win and into pink.
Urán finished the stage 4:11 minutes down on Quintana, losing his race lead and falling to second place overall. His deficient to Quintana stands at 1:41 minutes.
While there remains conjecture over whether the descent of the Stelvio was neutralised or not, Urán explained that the weather still played a major part in how the stage was raced.
"I think in normal circumstances the story of the race probably could have been different," Urán said. "Now I am 1:41 minutes down from Quintana in the overall classification. But the Giro is not finished yet. We will keep going, we will try to take back the maglia rosa. We are not done fighting for pink."
Omega Pharma-Quick Step's director sportif Davide Bramati kept his riders up-to-date with the latest from race radio telling them to watch out for any possible attacks.
"On the Stelvio I heard from Davide Bramati that the downhill will be controlled by motos with a red flag for the safety of the riders, and that we could have maintained our position on the descent without attacking," Urán said.
"He told me to put on my rain jacket and pay attention in any case. At 300 or 400 meters I had my jacket from one of our masseurs. I managed to wear my jacket before the top so at that point I didn't stop at the top like a few of my colleagues did. I then started descending, but I didn't see any motorbike."
The inclement weather ensured that riders had almost zero visibility descending on keeping an eye on GC rivals was made harder by the fact that most team rain jackets are black, disguising a domestique from a overall contender.
"During the descent riders came around me. I saw [Rafal] Majka and other guys but I didn't realise Quintana wasn't there," said Urán.
"I only did a few kilometres when Bramati told me the gap was already significant. So, we then organised our chase. That is how it went."
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