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Fothen hangs tough in the Dolomites

Gerolsteiner's 23 year old talent Markus Fothen managed to hold onto his top 10 GC ranking after the first real mountainous stage of the Giro d'Italia yesterday. Fothen finished 21st in the stage at 3'57 behind Savoldelli, and is now in 10th overall at 6'10.

"It was a huge experience for me today," said Fothen after what he described as the "first real Alpine stage of my life. I'm taking it from day to day now. At my age, the 'man with the hammer' always comes."

Fothen suffered on the second last climb of the day, the Passo Duran "with the steepness of the 'hill', but at the end of the climb, I came back again...It was really hard today, and 10th place is a great reward for the hard work."

Gerolsteiner's Sven Krauss managed to keep his lead in the Intergiro competition after placing third in the sprint. Things weren't as good for Sven Montgomery, who was ill and finished in the gruppetto. "Monty complained this morning [Thursday] of a sore throat. We don't know yet whether he can keep going tomorrow," said Gerolsteiner's DS Christian Henn.

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