Gatis Smukulis (Team Katusha) took a few minutes out before the start of stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia to talk to Cyclingnews about his team’s Giro and Joaquim Rodriguez's (Katusha Team) defence of the maglia rosa.
The Spaniard claimed pink on the road to Assisi on stage 10 and since then has kept a narrow lead over his challengers.
The Russian team appeared willing to relinquish the jersey on stage 12 when Sandy Casar (FDJ BigMat) became the virtual leader on the road. However Liquigas-Cannondale turned the screw, chasing hard enough to bring the jersey back onto Rodriguez’s shoulders.
In this exclusive interview Smukulis, who is riding with Rodriguez for the first season, talks about keeping the pink jersey, and whether the Spanish climber can win the race overall.