Giro d’Italia leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has commented on the two-minute time penalty for one of his key rivals, Richie Porte (Team Sky), after the Australian received a wheel change from Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) following a late puncture on stage 10.
“I’m sorry for Richie,” Contador said after he heard the news. “At points like that in a race you’re going flat out, your heart-rate is really high, and you only think about losing as little time as possible, not the rules.”
Contador has regularly rated Porte as one of his key rivals for the Giro d’Italia, recognising before he had heard the news about the penalty that there was a chance the Australian might take the maglia rosa from him on Saturday’s time trial.
The Tinkoff-Saxo pro now has an advantage of three minutes and nine seconds on Porte, who has dropped to twelfth overall. At the start of the stage, Porte was only 22 seconds back and in third place after what had, by common consent in Team Sky, been an ideal first week of racing for the Tasmanian.
Just one day after the rest day, though, the situation has become much more complicated for the British squad and Porte. Contador had already expressed sympathy for Porte even before news of the two-minute penalty broke, saying about the initial 47 second time loss because of the puncture that “there’s never an easy day and like Richie Porte’s situation today things can go wrong.”
“It’s something we repeat every time but it’s true that you can have a puncture or a crash on every stage. I’ve had my bad moment and now Richie had his bad moment today”.
With Contador leading by three seconds over Fabio Aru, following Porte’s penalty the next two riders in the overall classification are, like Aru, also Astana riders - Mikel Landa in third at 46 seconds and Dario Cataldo in fourth at 1-16.