The climb of Monte Grappa was likely to shake-up the overall classification at the Giro d'Italia but few people expected that it would mean that David Arroyo from Caisse d’Epargne is the new maglia rosa of the race with seven stages left to race. It is the latest change in the overall lead in one of the most unpredictable Giro d'Italia for years.
Arroyo is first Spanish wearer of the maglia rosa since Alberto Contador, took it, and won it, in 2008. The climber comes from Talavera de la Reina near Toledo, the home of famous Spanish climber Federico Bahamontes who won the 1959 Tour de France.
"This jersey is a dream come true for me”, said Arroyo in the post-stage press conference. “My team has showed a great confidence in me and I have a lot of respect for what Nibali, Basso, Scarponi and Evans have done today on the Monte Grappa. I’m sure they will never give up their hope of winning overall. But now that I’m in pink, I’ll see day after day if I can keep it.”
Arroyo admitted his advantage over Nibali is significant but does not know if it is enough.
“It’s quite a big lead”, Arroyo said. “I didn’t come here with the intention to win the Giro d’Italia, so I don’t want to put this idea in my mind yet. We’ll do our best. I’m used to work for my captains at Caisse d’Epargne, Alejandro Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez. Now I’ve seized the opportunity to become the leader. I suppose the coming stages will change the situation of the classification drastically but I’ll work a lot to defend the jersey, that’s for sure.”
The Spaniard reckons Vincenzo Nibali is the big favourite for the overall victory, even though he young Italian is 6.51 behind him in the overall classification.
“I know the Zoncolan we’ll climb tomorrow because I’ve done it in 2007, it’s a very hard climb”, Arroyo admitted. “We’re at the end of the second week. We’ll all have 200 kilometres of racing in our legs when we’ll climb it. That's a lot. Nibali is the adversary I fear the most. I’ve watched him pedalling. He’s got one more chance than the others.”