Mikel Landa (Astana) rode himself into second place overall on stage 16 to Aprica after an epic day of racing at the Giro d’Italia. With his team leader Fabio Aru already dropped, Landa attacked with four kilometres remaining to take his second stage victory of the race. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) out-sprinted Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to take second. Aru eventually crossed the line 2:49 back on his teammate and dropped to third overall. Contador now leads Landa by 4”02 with Aru third at 4:52.
“It was a really beautiful day for me, maybe even more than the last one,” said Landa.
“We saw that Contador had a problem and Katusha rode the group full gas and we collaborated with them. On the Mortirolo Fabio didn’t feel very good and he told me to go with Alberto and Kruijswijk. In the last kilometres I saw that they were playing a little bit for winning the stage. I tried and I didn’t know I was so strong.”
The day had been labelled as a defining one for the general classification and it proved to be just that. At one stage it looked like Aru had Contador on the ropes when the maglia rosa suffered a puncture on the first descent of the Aprica. Katusha drove on with some assistance from Astana, and forced Contador to mount what later became a solo chase with the gap extending to nearly a minute at the foot of the Mortirolo.
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