By Gregor Brown in Cesena, Italy
Germany's Matthias Russ, former holder of the Giro d'Italia's maglia bianca of best young rider, hopes to survive another demanding Grand Tour. Thanks to his move in the 231.6-kilometre stage to Peschici, he was sitting second overall going into stage 11, during which he got to wear the white jersey while fellow Under 25 racer Giovanni Visconti of Team Quick Step was wearing the maglia rosa of overall race leader.
Russ had planned to take the race day by day, but Wednesday's stage 11 cost him the maglia bianca after he lost contact with the peloton. Going into stage 12 on Thursday, Russ is sitting in 42nd overall and seventh in the young rider classification.
"I am quite happy with the second place overall," said the 24 year-old fourth-year professional of Team Gerolsteiner to Cyclingnews while he was still wearing white. "You saw yesterday [Tuesday] that Visconti is a good time trialist. We remembered after that he was sixth or second in the Under 23 World Championships time trial. It would have been hard for me to take it."
Russ started stage ten's time trial to Urbino 4'02" back, but lost just under three minutes to the better time trialist Visconti. "I am happy to be carrying the white jersey, even though it is really not mine," said the rider who finished the Giro d'Italia twice before (in 74th and 54th). "I know Italy well. It is great here, the food, coffee, girls," he joked.
"You are not able to really choose, but just give all you have," he stated of his objectives. "Staying in the group until you are dropped in the high mountains that is how it goes. There are not specific objectives, if I feel good I will be able to make a good result. If you are tired, then you are tired the whole week.
"Last year, I was sick in the last week; I was just riding an could do nothing, so I hope to stay healthy."
His family hopes for the same as they watch from Germany. "All my family is watching, parents, wife and family I have a brother and sister."