Arroyo to face Mortirolo for first time

Maglia rosa David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) defended his lead in stage 18.

Maglia rosa David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) defended his lead in stage 18. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

With only 388 kilometres remaining in the 2010 Giro d'Italia, David Arroyo Duran of Caisse d'Épargne looks more and more like a solid leader of the corsa rosa. The 30-year-old Spaniard didn't hide his happiness in Brescia, although he's not used to the game of acting in front of the media.

"It was a pretty quiet stage," he said. "After the first hill 5km after the start the situation was pretty much under control. We've just finished two days of transition and the hard part of the Giro d'Italia is yet to come. We'll see what happens tomorrow. We don't want to let [Vincenzo] Nibali, [Ivan] Basso and [Cadel] Evans go. We'll defend the jersey."

It will be Arroyo's fifth day in pink, the same amount of time Alexandre Vinokourov spent in the maglia rosa, while Bradley Wiggins, Evans, Nibali and Richie Porte have enjoyed the pleasure for fewer days since the start in Amsterdam on May 8.

"Every day that passes, I have the feeling that Verona is getting very close," said Arroyo about the Sunday's very last finishing line on the famous Arenas of the city that hosted the world championships twice recently (in 1999 and 2004). "More and more I have the feeling that the dream can come true," the Spaniard said.

"I'm realistic though," Arroyo said. "I live it day-by-day, with no fear. I know the coming stages are extremely difficult. I have never done the Mortirolo before. I think it's going to be very hard and a key point in the remaining three stages.

"It's going to be vital to calculate the efforts for the last part of tomorrow's stage. I'm more afraid of the Mortirolo than the Gavia on Saturday, which is a climb more similar to the ones of the Tour de France."

Arroyo remembers well that he lost 3:50 to Basso on the Monte Zoncolan, so the 2:27 lead he has now over the Italian might not be enough, but he also has some good reasons to believe in his chances of winning. "I normally recover well," Arroyo said. "In the Grand Tours, the third week is usually my best one. I also have a great team around me."

In addition to his team, Arroyo received in Brescia the support of his parents who made their way from Toledo to encourage him during the last four days of the Giro d'Italia. The historical manager of the Caisse d'Épargne team, José Miguel Echavarri, who is now retired, also paid a visit since he believes Arroyo can remind him of the days of Miguel Indurain beating the Italians on home soil for Banesto in 1992 and 1993.

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