Giro: One Day Left for Contador


Contador “There was never a moment, where I thought the jersey was in danger” – Stage to Aru but final overall looks secure for Contador with a stage to go

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Giro: One Day Left for Contador

With just one easy day remaining, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador is now as close as possible to winning the Giro d’Italia 2015. The Tinkoff Saxo captain had to dig deep and use his experience after getting into difficulties on the towering Cima Coppi of Colle delle Finestre.

Now leading by 2’02”, Contador acknowledges that he didn’t have his best of days but remained calm to secure the pink jersey. “Today was not a great stage for me. I wasn’t feeling good, probably because of the accumulated effort, but I knew I had a good cushion in the GC and, even though there were plenty of kilometers to go before the finish, I preferred to ride at my own rhythm.”

“There was never a moment, where I thought the jersey was in danger. I remained calm because I knew that the difference in speeds between the groups was going to be small”, says Alberto Contador, who lost 1’40” on stage 20.

“We’ll have a good dinner tonight, although I have to watch my weight for the Tour. This Giro d’Italia is in the bag now, with just tomorrow’s stage to come, so I’m already thinking of my next target”.

“Alberto definitely made a good show for the viewers, not so much for us right there on Finestre”, says his DS Steven de Jongh with a smile. “He had a difficult moment and he also said that he found it hard to ride out of the saddle on the gravel sections. Of course, when he also got dropped by Aru, we had a scary moment in the car but as we realized that he wasn’t empty on the descent and the flat part we cooled down again”.

“The gap stabilized and we asked if he wanted gels and energy but he preferred to eat on the downhill section. So we gave him the time references and he controlled the pace very well. Although he didn’t have a good day, we saw the determination and experience of Alberto”.

Two in a row for Aru
Aru, who also won stage 19, said of his win “It’s incredible. I can’t believe it still. I have had a few bad days and I have suffered, but today, managing to win again is wonderful, and getting that second place (GC), I’m really happy. We tried to go really quickly all the way to the finish. Landa was exceptional, as usual. He is a really strong guy.”

Third for Rigoberto Uran
Etixx – Quick-Step rider Rigoberto Uran finished 3rd on the breathtaking Giro d’Italia Stage 20. The crucial point of the race was on the Cima Coppi, Colle delle Finestre (18.7km, 9.2% average gradient), which included dirt roads as it headed toward the top. This tough climb was when Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Tanel Kangert (Astana) accelerated out of the maglia rosa group behind Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), who was ahead solo.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was forced to close the gap to the duo ahead. However, after he successfully did so, a select group already formed. Mikel Landa (Astana) attacked soon after, and was able to eventually bridge to Zakarin solo. Contador, meanwhile, was dropped with 29.1km to go as other riders of the group pressed on.

Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) and Uran formed a chase group behind Landa before Landa caught up to Zakarin. Fabio Aru (Astana) eventually caught up to the two riders chasing. As Hesjedal, Uran, and Aru descended the Cima Coppi the gap was 38″ to the Uran group, and 1’14” to Contador.


Photo: Etixx – Quick-Step/Tim De Waele

Kruijswijk joined Hesjedal, Aru, and Uran with 20.2km remaining in the stage. Kilometer-by-kilometer the group tried to put time into Contador in hopes of threatening his GC leadership. Uran, who was not in contention for the GC, remained with the group in hopes of contending the stage. The Uran group caught Landa and Zakarin with 8.5km remaining, but Contador had reduced the gap. Still, the race was far from over. The Cat. 3 summit finale of Sestriere (average gradient 5.4%, max ramp 9%) remained.

Zakarin lost contact with the lead group inside the final 5 kilometers. The gap was 1’39” to Contador with 2.5km left in the stage. Aru took his chance to initially attack at the 2km to go mark, but Uran continued to fight and he went around Hesjedal to bridge the gap to Aru. However, Aru accelerated again with 1.6km to go. This turned out to be the stage winning move.

Aru won Stage 20 18″ ahead of Hesjedal, and 24″ ahead of Uran in 3rd place. Uran crossed the line with Landa. Contador completed the stage 2’25” down, which means barring anything extraordinary in Stage 21, he will win the Giro d’Italia. Contador’s advantage over Aru in the GC is now 2’02”, and Contador also has 3’14” on Landa in 3rd place overall.

Uran, as a result of two podium finishes in the past two stages, is 14th overall going into the last stage. Sunday’s finish to the Giro d’Italia is a 185km flat stage from Torino to Milano.
“Today we did everything to try and win this stage,” Uran said. “After a few kilometers into the stage we had the feeling that the battle would start from the Colle delle Finestre. It was a matter of staying in the peloton and saving energy for the finale”.

“On the Colle delle Finestre I felt good. I always reacted to the attacks and I was never in difficulty on that climb. I decided to try and stay on the wheels because there was the battle for the GC going on. I was only waiting for the last climb because it was a climb I knew, and I knew it was good for my skills. So, I collaborated in the final to catch the breakaway with Landa and Zakarin”.

“Landa did a good tempo when we caught them, but at 2km to go Aru attacked and I reacted. However, when he saw me on his wheel he attacked again. Unfortunately, I couldn’t follow. I hung on to take at least a podium place. I am a little bit sad, because we did everything to win the stage and it didn’t work out. Still, considering everything, I also have to say how great it was on the Colle delle Finestre today”.

“I think it was really a great show for the spectators and for cycling. The last 8 kilometers of the climb were gravel and it was really something unforgettable for the riders. In sports, even if you are not feeling your best, there are moments like this where you are so inspired by the public and the circumstances that you find the energy to go full gas anyway. This was a spectacular parcours. Now we are nearing the end of the Giro”.

“I have to be satisfied with the reaction of myself and my team in the last week of the Giro, after a lot of problems. At the end of this Giro d’Italia we have the feeling things could be different if we had a bit more luck and health in the first part of the race. But, it is what it is. It’s time to turn the page and start thinking about the next races. I want to thank the staff and riders for staying committed always. My race today is for them, for the effort they put into this race for me.”


1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:12:25
2. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:18
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:24
4. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:34
6. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:02:25
7. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:02:28
8. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky
10. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team

1. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo 84:03:30
2. Fabio Aru, Astana Pro Team 0:02:02
3. Mikel Landa, Astana Pro Team 0:03:14
4. Andrey Amador, Movistar Team 0:08:19
5. Ryder Hesjedal, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:09:52
6. Leopold Konig, Team Sky 0:10:50
7. Steven Kruijswijk, Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:11:02
8. Damiano Caruso, BMC Racing Team 0:12:17
9. Alexandre Geniez, 0:16:00
10. Yury Trofimov, Team Katusha 0:16:23

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