By Gregor Brown in Alpe di Pampeago
Belgium's Jurgen Van den Broeck has been one of the surprises in the 91st Giro d'Italia. The 25 year-old of Silence-Lotto held tight on some of the toughest stages thus far, including the rain-soaked affair to Cesena and the first high-mountain stage.
However, before the start of stage 14, he revealed that he does not know the climbs in Italy's north. "Not," was his response to Cyclingnews regarding his familiarity. "I have studied the [official race] book and we have a knowledgeable Italian directeur [Roberto Damiani and Stefano Zanini - ed.], so they know what is coming and how they are."
Van den Broeck stayed with the "bigs" of the Giro d'Italia on the Passo Manghen and the Alpe di Pampeago, forcing the pace with the likes of Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni). After his tenth place on the stage, he is now 12th in the classification and 1'59" behind the best place classification rider, Spain's Alberto Contador (Astana).
He admitted before the day, "After today and tomorrow we will know more. I don't know what to expect, so we will see. We will see in the race how it goes. It is not a secret [of the team], it is just to see how the race goes on."
The Belgian team will look at the 12.9-kilometre Plan de Crones mountain time trial on Monday. Van de Broeck indicated that they will do, "Those are plans after Sunday."