Contador extends GC lead as rivals suffer

Although it is still some way from being race over at the Giro d’Italia, the contest for the maglia rosa won’t be in doubt for too much longer if Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) continues to show the same kind of dominant form that he produced at stage 13’s summit finish on the Grossglockner. In wet and chilly conditions on the massive Austrian peak, Contador was happy to let Venezuela’s José Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) take the stage win in the knowledge that his main rivals for the overall title were still a kilometre from the line.

After Ag2r’s John Gadret and Hubert Dupont had come through to take surprise third and fourth place finishes, the latter just ahead of Igor Anton (Euskaltel), Roman Kreuziger led in a bedraggled-looking group containing Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Michele Scarponi (Lampre) and Denis Menchov (Geox), 1-36 down on Contador. The only good news for Nibali and Scarponi was that they jumped to second and third place respectively on GC. The very good news for Contador is that Nibali is now more than three minutes back.

There was no certainty given the difficulty of several stages still to come that the overall favourites would go all out today, but after a breakaway of 16 riders had been closed down by the maglia rosa group with 10km remaining, there was no shortage of action. Rujano was the first to attack, overhauling the final breakaway rider, José Sarmiento (Acqua e Sapone), in the process. Anton responded, tracked by Contador.

As the leaders regrouped, Scarponi accelerated clear, but he too was quickly tracked down, first by Rujano, then Anton. With the bunch now slimmed down to just 20-odd riders, Contador made his move as the gradient ramped up with 8.5km remaining. Although he barely seemed to be moving, no one followed initially. Rujano then jumped across. Scarponi attempted to track the Venezuelan but had to yield.

Glad to be joined by an ally who is both a strong climber and, as yet, little threat to him on GC, Contador began to work with Rujano and the pair quickly built a significant lead. At the Kasereck king of the mountains banner with 7km remaining, they were 40 seconds clear. On the final 5km of climbing to the finish, they doubled that advantage.

With his eye very much on the maglia rosa, it was never likely that Contador would contest the sprint. Consequently, when Rujano slipped by him 150m from the line, the race leader barely responded. Six years on from his previous Giro stage win, Rujano, a little uncertainly at first, celebrated his second stage win. But there is no doubt that the day’s big winner was Contador.

Behind the finish line, Rujano dedicated the victory to his wife and to the late Frank Vandenbroucke. He also paid tribute to Contador. “He’s a great champion and gave me a hand today,” said the diminutive Venezuelan, adding: “I’d also like to thank my team, who did some great work today.”

Three jerseys for Contador

The stage started without half a dozen sprinters. Stage 12 victor Mark Cavendish had made no secret of his intention to leave the race before the mountainous run-in to Milan. With him went points leader Alessandro Petacchi and stage winner José Ventoso, plus Mark Renshaw, Danilo Hondo and Manuel Belletti.

After lots of early activity, the break of the day eventually went clear with 41km covered. As well as Kiserlovski and Sarmiento, it also contained stage winner Pieter Weening (Rabobank), Pablo Lastras and Movistar team-mate Branislau Samoilau, Rafael Valls (Geox), Alberto Losada (Katusha), stage 3 winner Angel Vicioso (Androni), Craig Lewis (HTC), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky), veteran Andrea Noe (Farnese Vini), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r), Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step), Cameron Meyer (Garmin) and Alessandro Spezialetti (Lampre).

Samoilau bagged the main points over the first two climbs. As the group reached the bottom of the third, the Iselbergpass, Kiserlovski made his lone move. Although not a great stylist, the Astana rider quickly built a good lead over the breakaway. But in the main group four minutes or so behind, things were starting to happen.

The impetus to chase was provided by Euskaltel, who had three and sometimes four riders on the front of the maglia rosa group from 50km out. Clearly, their intention was to clear the way for Anton, but Contador and his Saxo Bank team-mates benefited too as the breakaway’s advantage was chopped back with little effort on their part.

At the foot of the final climb, with 20km remaining, Kiserlovski’s lead over the main field was just over two minutes, with several other riders still in between. It was two of these riders, the in-form Weening and Sarmiento, who overhauled the young Astana rider with 13km left, only to find within a matter of seconds that the vehicles sat in behind them were being ordered out as the bunch closed in.

From that point on, the overall contenders and pure climbers took over. Although first Scarponi and then Anton tried to put Contador on the back foot, the race leader never looked troubled. However, when the Spaniard made his own move, all of his rivals looked sluggish in comparison.

With two extremely tough mountain stages to come this weekend, that could all change, but the fact that Contador now heads the points and mountains standings as well as the overall says a great deal about how strong he has been so far.

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli4:45:54
2Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 1 - Cell 2
3John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:27
4Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:29
5Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 4 - Cell 2
6Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana0:01:36
7Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 6 - Cell 2
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 7 - Cell 2
9Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 9 - Cell 2
11David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team0:01:52
13Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:02
15Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:02:14
16Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:02:28
17Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad0:02:42
18Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISDRow 17 - Cell 2
19Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:03:13
22Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team AstanaRow 22 - Cell 2
24Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShackRow 23 - Cell 2
25Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:03:49
26Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 25 - Cell 2
27Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShackRow 26 - Cell 2
28Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 27 - Cell 2
29Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky ProcyclingRow 28 - Cell 2
30Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 29 - Cell 2
31Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-HighroadRow 30 - Cell 2
32Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 32 - Cell 2
34Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 33 - Cell 2
35Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Acqua & SaponeRow 34 - Cell 2
36Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:04:01
37Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli0:04:18
38Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:04:38
39Philip Deignan (Irl) Team RadioShack0:05:01
40Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & Sapone0:05:26
41Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 40 - Cell 2
42Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:05:46
43Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:06:17
44Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:06:19
45Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:06:42
46Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale0:07:21
47Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 46 - Cell 2
48Marcel Wyss (Swi) Geox-TMC0:07:26
49Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 48 - Cell 2
50Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Andrea Noe (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 51 - Cell 2
53Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:07:33
54Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team0:09:11
55Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:10:23
56Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:10:34
57Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:10:51
58Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:12:24
59Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 58 - Cell 2
60Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 59 - Cell 2
61Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky ProcyclingRow 61 - Cell 2
63Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 62 - Cell 2
64Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 64 - Cell 2
66Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone0:12:29
67Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShack0:13:17
68Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69David Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 68 - Cell 2
70Michael Barry (Can) Sky ProcyclingRow 69 - Cell 2
71Juan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 71 - Cell 2
73Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 72 - Cell 2
74Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack0:13:48
75Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 74 - Cell 2
76Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling0:14:01
77Carlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team0:14:10
78Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team AstanaRow 77 - Cell 2
79Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team0:14:19
80Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:14:21
82Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard0:14:45
83Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank Sungard0:15:50
85Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Morris Possoni (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 85 - Cell 2
87Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 86 - Cell 2
88Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 88 - Cell 2
90Maxim Belkov (Rus) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team AstanaRow 90 - Cell 2
92Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:58
93Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Geox-TMCRow 92 - Cell 2
94Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni Giocattoli0:16:00
95Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 94 - Cell 2
96Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:16:09
97Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShackRow 96 - Cell 2
98Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 98 - Cell 2
100Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 102 - Cell 2
104Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 103 - Cell 2
105Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 104 - Cell 2
106Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:16:15
107Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 106 - Cell 2
108Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 107 - Cell 2
109Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 108 - Cell 2
110Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team0:16:18
111Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 110 - Cell 2
112Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:18:56
113Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Pro Team AstanaRow 112 - Cell 2
114Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 113 - Cell 2
115Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Pro Team AstanaRow 114 - Cell 2
116Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 115 - Cell 2
117Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky ProcyclingRow 116 - Cell 2
118Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 117 - Cell 2
119Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISDRow 118 - Cell 2
120Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 119 - Cell 2
121Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:19:42
123Robert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShack0:20:43
124Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 123 - Cell 2
125Claudio Corioni (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 124 - Cell 2
126Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 125 - Cell 2
127Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 126 - Cell 2
128Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 127 - Cell 2
129Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-HighroadRow 128 - Cell 2
130Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 129 - Cell 2
131Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-HighroadRow 130 - Cell 2
132Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 131 - Cell 2
133Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 132 - Cell 2
134Juan José Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 133 - Cell 2
135Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 134 - Cell 2
136Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 135 - Cell 2
137Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 136 - Cell 2
138Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 137 - Cell 2
139Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 138 - Cell 2
140Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Geox-TMCRow 139 - Cell 2
141Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 140 - Cell 2
142Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 141 - Cell 2
143Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 142 - Cell 2
144Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank SungardRow 143 - Cell 2
145Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 144 - Cell 2
146Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 145 - Cell 2
147Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 146 - Cell 2
148Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 147 - Cell 2
149Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 148 - Cell 2
150Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 149 - Cell 2
151Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 150 - Cell 2
152Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 151 - Cell 2
153Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 152 - Cell 2
154Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 153 - Cell 2
155Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 154 - Cell 2
156Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 155 - Cell 2
157Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 156 - Cell 2
158Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:20:57
159Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 158 - Cell 2
160Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 159 - Cell 2
161Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 160 - Cell 2
162Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 161 - Cell 2
163Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Team RadioShack0:21:21
164Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad0:23:25
165Michael Mørkøv (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 164 - Cell 2
166Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 165 - Cell 2
167Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 166 - Cell 2
168Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 167 - Cell 2
169Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 168 - Cell 2
170Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 169 - Cell 2
171Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 170 - Cell 2
172Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 171 - Cell 2
173Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 172 - Cell 2
174Russell Downing (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 173 - Cell 2
175Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:23:51
176