Giro d’Italia – Rigoberto Uran Under Pressure


Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Giro race leader Rigoberto Uran under pressure on mountain top finish

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Giro d’Italia – Rigoberto Uran Under Pressure

“I was always in good shape with my teammates around me” – Uran

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Wout Poels moved to the front of a group with teammate Maglia Rosa wearer Rigoberto Uran, which was under pressure in the final kilometers after Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R – La Mondiale) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) went on the attack on the steeper sections of the Cat. 1 Oropa summit finish at 164km Giro d’Italia Stage 14 on Saturday.

The final climb, which was 11.8km with an average gradient of 6.2% (max ramp 13%), was where the GC riders began the true mountain battle for the classification. The remainders of an original 21-rider breakaway, which included Julien Vermote earlier in the race, was well up the road determining the winner of the stage. That winner was Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani – CSF), who caught Dario Cataldo (Team Sky) and Jarlinson Pantano (Team Colombia) in the final meters to pass them before the line. Cataldo was 2nd, Pantano 3rd.

Poels, meanwhile, stayed close to his leader Uran. He helped to minimize the gap to Quintana and Pozzovivo ahead, as well as Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) who was close behind them, and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) who was with them until the final few hundred meters.

Uran remains in the pink jersey, with a 32″ gap in the GC over Evans, as well as a 1’35” gap to Majka, 2’11” to Pozzovivo, and 3’04” to Quintana. The threats to Uran’s leadership are far from over as there are plenty of mountain stages left. The 225km Stage 15 has perhaps one of the toughest finishes of them all: 19.35km GPM 1 Montecampione, with a max ramp of 12% and an average gradient of about 7.5 percent.

“We were happy with the breakaway that got away,” Uran said. “I was always in good shape with my teammates around me. I had the whole team with me all day. When the accelerations came at 5 kilometers to go, I had them around me still to help me. So, I was happy today. I am absolutely cheerful because my team was phenomenal and Poels was great in the final.”

“I have done some Grand Tours and I know it’s important to be consistent over the three weeks. OK, we lost 20, maybe 25 seconds today, but it’s not a real problem. You have to arrive with the Maglia Rosa at the end of the race, not showing yourself on every stage. You need to save energy as much as possible because the hard climbs and days are still to come. I know all these climbs coming up. There’s that difficult final week and I want to wear this Maglia Rosa in Trieste.”

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