French climber John Gadret was lucky in Sunday's stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia, leading up to the Pian dei Resinelli. The AG2R La Mondiale team leader, who finished third overall at the Italian grand tour last year, was able to save his general classification objectives on what was a hard mountain stage, made even more difficult by the wet and cold weather conditions.
Gadret, who had been with the group of favourites all day, punctured at the most inopportune moment during the finale. This could have been the end to his hopes of repeating a high GC result this year, but luckily his teammate Hubert Dupont was at his side and did not hesitate to help his team leader.
"Hubert gave me his rear wheel when I punctured in the descent, with 20 kilometres to go. Thanks to him, I was able to catch up with the favourites' group at the foot of the last climb. Without Hubert, all my objectives at this Giro would have been crushed and I really want to thank him," Gadret said after the race.
The Frenchman finished ninth, 29 seconds behind stage winner Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini), losing only a few seconds to overall favourites Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Michele Scarponi (Liquigas) and Ivan Basso (Lampre). He now lies 15th overall, at 3'24" off the new maglia rosa Rodriguez.
Gadret has had a difficult start in this year's race however, notably losing 1'45" at the team time trial in Verona on stage four. However, as the Giro enters its final week, the most demanding stages are yet to come and the Frenchman looks up to the challenge.