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"In general I feel better than the previous days and today I had good legs. Yesterday from the beginning of the stage I didn’t feel so much power, I think because of my allergies. When I have an asthma attack I cannot do anything...

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele

DANIEL MORENO

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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25.05.2014 @ 20:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After the team lost its leader Joaquim Rodriguez, Katusha hasn't been much in the Giro d'Italia spotlight but today Daniel Moreno proved that they are still in the race. The Spaniard finished 8th in the big mountain stage to Montecampione which is a good sign ahead of the brutal final week.

 

The high mountains made a big difference in Sunday’s stage 15, creating wider gaps at the top of the general classification and seeing motivated efforts come from those still looking for stage wins. Team Katusha’s Daniel Moreno showed that his form continues to improve as he rode with the GC contenders all the way to the top of the Plan di Montecampione.

 

"I stayed with the GC riders which was good to try for a stage win, but in the end the attacks were too strong and I didn’t have the power left," Moreno said. "I was always with Cadel Evans but then he had a crisis so I went on at my own pace.

 

"In general I feel better than the previous days and today I had good legs. Yesterday from the beginning of the stage I didn’t feel so much power, I think because of my allergies. When I have an asthma attack I cannot do anything.”

 

Daniel Moreno put forth plenty of action on today’s stage, initiating attacks of his own and following good moves by others, finally taking 8th on the stage in a group just ahead of Cadel Evans, who sits second place on the classification.

 

Team Katusha sports director José Azevedo was pleased with today’s efforts:

 

“The team really tried today. Luca [Paolini] did a nice job by going in the break and then afterwards both Alberto [Losada] and Dani tried. It was not a win but 8th place is good and I’m happy to see the riders have the right attitude. I’m seeing the fighting spirit once again.”

 

Luca Paolini was part of an early 12-man break that stayed away on the flat sections of the course prior to the climb of the day. Remains of the break started the climb first but the difficult pitch eventually neutralized their efforts and the GC contenders moved to take control. With attacks occurring all along the 20 km climb, the lead changed many times before a searing attack by Fabio Aru (Astana) finally had the legs to make one stick. The Sardinian rider managed to distance the others with just over 2 km to go and crossed the finish line with a time of 5:33:06, 21- and 22-seconds ahead of Fabio Duarte (Colombia) and Nairo Quintana of Movistar.

 

Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) widened his lead over Evans, gaining on the Australian to now lead by 63-seconds. Third place Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is at 1.50, but today’s stage winner Aru is closing in fast on a position on the podium.

 

Monday brings the third and final rest day for the 97th Giro d’Italia and with a demanding week in the mountains still to go, the riders will need to rest and refuel in order to be at their best as they head for the final week of racing in the Italian tour. Tuesday’s stage 16 at 139 km begins in Ponte di Legno and ends on Val Martello/Martelltal. The route includes a trip over the mythical Passo Gavia and Stelvio before the finale on Val Martello. And that’s just the start of a week full of climbing the high passes in northern Italy.

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