Samuel Sánchez’s hopes of adding a podium finish at the Giro to those that he has previously taken at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España hit on the rocks on the Altopiano del Montasio. The Euskaltel-Euskadi leader trailed in 4-22 down on stage-winner Rigoberto Urán, which left him almost eight minutes behind maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali, in 18th place overall.
The omens weren’t good for Euskaltel when Sánchez dropped away from the maglia rosa group on the penultimate climb of the Passo Casson di Lanza. Although he managed to regain contact with the other GC contenders on the descent that followed, he soon lost contact as Sky and Astana ramped up the pressure on the final ascent.
Euskaltel boss Igor González de Galdeano admitted his team’s GC prospects are now all but finished, but insisted they can still have an impact during the rest of the race. “We can still have a real say in this Giro,” he affirmed at the finish in Montasio.
Asked about his team’s goals for the second half of the Giro, González de Galdeano responded: “We’re going to keep fighting. We will focus even more firmly on our goal of winning a stage and will give everything we have to achieve that. There are still two very hard weeks left and we have adopt a positive attitude. We can still have a real say. We’ve prepared for the Giro very carefully. I am still expecting a lot from this team.”
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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