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The decision to take the time at one lap from the end was correct. As riders we neutralized the stage until then to not take any risks but we never thought of stopping. We need to have respect for the race," Paolini says

Photo: Sirotti






13.05.2014 @ 19:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Luca Paolini (Katusha) seemed to act as spokesman on behalf on the peloton in today's very confusing stage of the Giro d'Italia. The Italian says that it was the right decision to neutralize the time gaps but also made it clear that the riders never planned not riding stage to its end.


Tuesday’s road stage at the 97th Giro d’Italia became a rolling “rest day” when the stage was neutralized in terms of time for the general classification contenders, setting up a quick sprint from the last of 8 laps in the city center of Bari. With Marcel Kittel, winner of stages 1 and 2, out of the race from illness, and crashes taking down others on the run to the line, the remaining sprinters saw renewed possibilities to earn a stage win.  


From a reduced field, taking the turns cautiously, the sprint opened up with 300 m to go and saw Nacer Bouhanni (FdJ) take the win. Second place went to Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and third place to Tom Veelers of Giant-Shimano.


“The organization at the start said they could not make a decision about the race until they arrived at the circuit in Bari," Katusha sports director Jose Azevedo said. "The directors talked and so did the riders and no one was sure what the organization was going to decide.


"So in order to keep it fair, the group had to ride together until the decision was made. The parcours also helped determine this because no directors wanted to risk their riders on a day like this with the many slippery roads.”


Katusha’s Luca Paolini agreed with the neutralized stage:


“We knew already this morning that it would be dangerous. In south Italy the roads are slippery in rainy weather. We asked the organization to check how the circuit condition was. The decision to take the time at one lap from the end was correct. As riders we neutralized the stage until then to not take any risks but we never thought of stopping. We need to have respect for the race!”


The stage from Giovinazzo to Bari was the shortest road stage in the Giro at 112 km, coming the day after the race relocated from Ireland to southern Italy. Rain and slick roads caused the race commissaires to allow racing only at the end of the stage. With no changes in the general classification, Michael Matthews stayed in the pink jersey and currently holds 8-seconds to Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and 10-seconds to BMC’s Daniel Oss.


All Team Katusha riders, including Giampaolo Caruso, who spent a good race despite his left hand injury, finished the stage without any problem.


Azevedo continued:


“Until now all the stages have had rain and of course we’ve had many sprint finishes, so in the minds of many the real Giro starts tomorrow. The final isn’t so complicated but it won’t be a sprint as we start some of the climbs.”


Stage 5 on Wednesday is 203km, beginning in Taranto and ending in Viggiano. The stage includes three rated climbs, including an uphill finish.



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