Kiryienka soars to Sestriere

Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar) soloed to victory in the final mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia, taking off from his 12 breakaway companions to conquer the day's two climbs. Jose Rujano (Androni Giacattoli) climbed to second place, 4:43 down, with Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha clawing his way to third at 4:50.

The real race, though, was behind him. Seemingly only maglia rosa Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank -SunGard) stayed calm and collected as he easily stayed with the other top favourites, and seemed content to watch them wear each other out. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) cemented his overall second place by putting another 22 seconds into third-placed Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale, who exploded on the closing climb.

Kanstantsin Sivtsov of HTC-Highroad dropped from 5th to 11th, and Euskaltel's Mikel Nieve dropped out of the top-ten entirely, as Rodriguez and Rujano moved up to fifth and sixth, respectively, with AG2R's John Gadret holding on to his fourth place, just off the podium.

It was the second career Giro win for the Belarusian, who after six hours and 17 minutes of effort calmly pulled his jersey into position and pointed to his sponsor's name as he crossed the line.

Kiryienka raised his eyes and hands heaven-ward as he crossed the finish line, sending thoughts to teammate Xavier Tondo. “This was the best way to remember a teammate that was with us only for this season, but yet seemed to have been here for so much time,” he said on the team's website. “We decided that the best form to pay him tribute was staying into the Giro, and I think we made a good choice because winning in such a hard mountain stage and from such a long break, it was a kind of winning that he liked so much.”

Race within a race

The race of the day was between Michele Scarponi and Vincenzo Nibali, only 34 seconds apart coming into the stage.

A group of 13 broke away early: Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Kevin Seeldraeyers (Quick Step), Eduaord Vorganov (Katusha), Angel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM), Luca Mazzanti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), Josep Jufre (Astana), Vasil Kiryienka (Movistar), Sebastian Lang (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Cristiano Salerno (Liquigas-Cannondale), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD), Carlos Betancourt (Acqua & Sapone) and Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

The stage was flat to rolling for the first 194 kilometers, but from there on it was up and down – and often very steep.

The first climb of the day was the biggest one, the category one Finestre, with an average nine percent gradient and a gravel road sector approaching the summit. The leaders, who had built up a lead of over 11 minutes on the early part of the course, started on their way up with a gap of 6:24.

Liquigas-Cannondale moved to the head of the peloton, as the field more or less ignored the escape group, which contained no one of danger to the GC.

As the road went up, the gap came down. The GC riders moved to the front of the field early so as not to get caught on the sleep slopes when the field broke up – which it soon did. Rujano jumped early, and Liquigas-Cannondale led the chase to catch him, with the group quickly reduced to 30 riders and diminishing rapidly.

Up front, the non-climbers started dropping back from the group. Kiryienka gradually pulled away from his former companions and built up a good lead.

Sylvester Szmyd did yeomen's work for Nibali, grinding his way up the mountain and pulling the group behind him. Scarponi was never far from Nibali, with Contador also close behind. Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) was also in the group, but Euskaltel-Euskadi's Igor Anton soon ran into difficulties.

It was a true war of attrition, as Liquigas-Cannondale mercilessly kept the pace high. Big name after big name dropped off the back and gave desperate chase.

Rujano jumped again, making time on the endless number of hairpin curves. He slowly moved his way up through the riders falling back from the lead group.

Kiryienka continued to move easily along on the gravel section near the top, and showed his strength by maintaining a lead of about four minutes. Szmyd continued his near super-human effort and was joined briefly by Salerno, who had dropped out of the break group.

Kiryienka was first over the top, and as he started the descent, Rodriguez attacked out of the chase group followed by Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) and Menchov. Scarponi and Nibali were hard put to catch up, with Nibali in the end losing significant ground. The maglia rosa had as usual, no problem at all.

Nibali could only look to the backs of the other favourites disappearing up the climb away from him. Six riders crossed the top together as Nibali struggled behind them, although he was greatly encouraged by the thousands of fans. He came over the top about 20 seconds back.

Nibali's forte is descending, and soon it was Scarponi's turn to worry. He moved up as far as he could, but still expected to see his rival zoom by his any minute. And sure enough, Nibali was soon on the group again, and even moved to the lead.

Kiryienka maintained his lead and took 4:21 over Rujano with him as he started up the closing climb of the legendary Sestriere. The Contador group was over five and a half minutes back.

Rujano had caught Betancourt, the only other rider of the former escape group, but the Colombian was dogged and hung close to his fellow South American.

The favourites' group was back together and on the verge of growing, as Roman Kreuziger (Astana) had worked his way back up. He and Kruijswijk then slugged it out for the best young rider's jersey.

Battling the Giro's final climb

As the group started up the closing climb, many in the group became uneasy. Attacks were launched and parried, many nervous glances were exchanged. Only Contador remained calm and unworried.

Rodriguez was finally able to get away at about the 10km marker in his bid to move up into the top five overall, ahead of Kreuziger who couldn't keep up with the attack.

Nearly forgotten up front, Kiryienka cruised into the final 5km with more than five minutes over this nearest chasers, Rujano and Betancourt. Only with 5km to go was Rujano able to drop Betancourt.

Rodriguez built up a good lead, and Gadret and Menchov took off after him. Nibali got nervous and attacked, with Scarponi as expected, reacting as well. Kreuziger was unable to keep up with it all, and Kruijswijk jumped on is chance to take the white jersey.

Rodriguez in fact moved up far enough to pass Betancourt and claim third place on the stage for himself. Behind him, Nibali had cracked, falling off the group and finishing behind Kreuziger, who made a major effort at the end.


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Full Results
1Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team6:17:03
2José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli0:04:43
3Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team0:04:50
4Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone0:05:31
5John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:54
6Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:05:58
7Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 7 - Cell 2
9Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 8 - Cell 2
10Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana0:06:16
11Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:06:20
12Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:07:17
13Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:07:53
14Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar Team0:08:44
15Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Pro Team Astana0:08:46
17Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:08:47
18Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 17 - Cell 2
19Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:09:29
20Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:09:30
21Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-HighroadRow 20 - Cell 2
22Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 23 - Cell 2
25Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 24 - Cell 2
26Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShack0:09:56
29Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:10:07
31Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:11:27
32David Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 31 - Cell 2
33Marcel Wyss (Swi) Geox-TMCRow 32 - Cell 2
34Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 33 - Cell 2
35Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team AstanaRow 34 - Cell 2
36Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 35 - Cell 2
37Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 36 - Cell 2
38Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 37 - Cell 2
39Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 38 - Cell 2
40Juan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:12:45
42Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 41 - Cell 2
43Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:13:03
44Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 43 - Cell 2
45Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:13:19
46Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling0:13:57
47Philip Deignan (Irl) Team RadioShackRow 46 - Cell 2
48Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky ProcyclingRow 47 - Cell 2
49Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:14:45
50Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:15:15
51Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale0:16:18
52Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 51 - Cell 2
53Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & SaponeRow 52 - Cell 2
54Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 53 - Cell 2
55David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team0:16:30
56Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team AstanaRow 56 - Cell 2
58Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack0:17:06
59Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:18:01
60Morris Possoni (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:19:03
62Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:22:16
64Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Carlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team0:26:33
66Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard0:26:51
67Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 66 - Cell 2
68Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 67 - Cell 2
69Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 68 - Cell 2
70Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni GiocattoliRow 69 - Cell 2
71Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:32:50
72Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISDRow 71 - Cell 2
73Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 72 - Cell 2
74Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 73 - Cell 2
75Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 74 - Cell 2
76Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank SungardRow 75 - Cell 2
77Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 76 - Cell 2
78Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky ProcyclingRow 77 - Cell 2
79Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Acqua & SaponeRow 78 - Cell 2
80Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 79 - Cell 2
81Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 80 - Cell 2
82Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 82 - Cell 2
84Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 83 - Cell 2
85Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 85 - Cell 2
87Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 86 - Cell 2
88Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShackRow 87 - Cell 2
89Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 89 - Cell 2
91Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 92 - Cell 2
94Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 93 - Cell 2
95Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:42:38
96Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 96 - Cell 2
98Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank SungardRow 97 - Cell 2
99Claudio Corioni (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 98 - Cell 2
100Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky ProcyclingRow 100 - Cell 2
102Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 101 - Cell 2
103Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Pro Team AstanaRow 102 - Cell 2
104Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 103 - Cell 2
105Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 104 - Cell 2
106Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 106 - Cell 2
108Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 107 - Cell 2
109Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 108 - Cell 2
110Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 109 - Cell 2
111Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShackRow 110 - Cell 2
112Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShackRow 111 - Cell 2
113Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
114Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 113 - Cell 2
115Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 114 - Cell 2
116Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 115 - Cell 2
117Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 116 - Cell 2
118Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 117 - Cell 2
119Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISDRow 118 - Cell 2
120Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 119 - Cell 2
121Michael Mørkøv (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 120 - Cell 2
122Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 122 - Cell 2
124Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 123 - Cell 2
125Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-HighroadRow 124 - Cell 2
126Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-HighroadRow 125 - Cell 2
127Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 126 - Cell 2
128Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 127 - Cell 2
129Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 128 - Cell 2
130Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank SungardRow 129 - Cell 2
131Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 130 - Cell 2
132Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Geox-TMCRow 131 - Cell 2
133Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 132 - Cell 2
134Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 133 - Cell 2
135Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 134 - Cell 2
136Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Geox-TMCRow 135 - Cell 2
137Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 136 - Cell 2
138Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 137 - Cell 2
139Russell Downing (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 138 - Cell 2
140Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 139 - Cell 2
141Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 140 - Cell 2
142Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 142 - Cell 2
144Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 143 - Cell 2
145Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 144 - Cell 2
146Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 145 - Cell 2
147Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 146 - Cell 2
148Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 147 - Cell 2
149Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 148 - Cell 2
150Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 149 - Cell 2
151Maxim Belkov (Rus) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 150 - Cell 2
152Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
153Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-HighroadRow 152 - Cell 2
154Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 153 - Cell 2
155David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 154 - Cell 2
156Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar TeamRow 155 - Cell 2
157Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 156 - Cell 2
158Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:46:20
159Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:47:35
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1Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team26pts
2José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone14Row 3 - Cell 3
5John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale12Row 4 - Cell 3
6Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto8Row 8 - Cell 3
10Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC7Row 9 - Cell 3
11Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana6Row 10 - Cell 3
12Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team6Row 11 - Cell 3
13Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale5Row 12 - Cell 3
14Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale4Row 13 - Cell 3
15Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli4Row 14 - Cell 3
16Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox3Row 15 - Cell 3
17Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team3Row 16 - Cell 3
18Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar Team2Row 17 - Cell 3
19Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi2Row 18 - Cell 3
20Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team1Row 19 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 - Colle delle Finestre (Cat. 1) 214.4km
1Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team15pts
2José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli9Row 1 - Cell 3
3Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone5Row 2 - Cell 3
4Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team3Row 3 - Cell 3
5Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard2Row 4 - Cell 3
6Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team1Row 5 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 - Sestriere (Cat. 2) 242km
1Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team9pts
2José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli5Row 1 - Cell 3
3Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team3Row 2 - Cell 3
4Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone2Row 3 - Cell 3
5John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale1Row 4 - Cell 3
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Intermediate sprint - Torino, 144.1km
1Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto5pts
2Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team4Row 1 - Cell 3
3Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Far