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"Yesterday I tried to keep my strength. In the last kilometers I went slowly, thinking only about this race. I did my best but I didn't expect to win. However, this is not going to be my last victory."

Photo: ANSA - PERI / DI MEO / ZENNARO

GIRO D'ITALIA

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
23.05.2016 @ 00:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) created the biggest surprise of the Giro d’Italia as he rode to a very impressive stage win in the mountain time trial on stage 15. The Russian talent beat race leader Steven Kruijswijk by less than a second while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) bounced back with a solid third place. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) had a disastrous day and slipped to third in the overall standings, 2.51 behind Kruijswijk who strengthened his lead significantly.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Alexander Foliforov: This is not going to be my last victory

It was a historic victory for the Gazprom-RusVelo in Giro d’Italia. Alexander Foliforov triumphed in the time trial with the time of 28.39.

 

Seconds after the stage finish, the stage winner said: "This is unbelievable. It's like a dream to win this stage. I came to the Giro well prepared for this stage in particular because uphill time trials have always been my forte. I did my best but I didn't expect to win. However, this is not going to be my last victory".

 

"I don't know how I could win,” he said. “It's unbelievable. From the beginning of the Giro I hoped I could make a result in this stage - that I can do this, it's like a dream for me. It's a big victory for our team, our sponsors, and I'm very happy. I want to say thank you to the staff, riders, sponsors and general manager for this opportunity. It is a big race and it was my dream.

 

"I always race well in the cronoscalata and I thought I could be in the top 10. But I won and I don't know how I could do this.

 

"Yesterday I tried to keep my strength. In the last kilometers I went slowly, thinking only about this race. I did my best but I didn't expect to win. However, this is not going to be my last victory.

 

"It's amazing. It's like a dream to win this stage. I came to the Giro specifically preparing for this day because the uphill time trial is my specialty.

 

 “I was very nervous during the last minute of the race as I was watching TV. I thought Kruijswijk was going to win. I still cannot believe that I’ve won a stage of the Giro d’Italia!

 

“It’s my best distance and uphill time trials are my speciality. I won a similar uphill time trial at the GP Sochi in Russia [over a distance of 10.3km last year] and I came 5th at the Giro della Valle d’Aosta [over 9.2km from Champdepraz to Covarey, behind Fabio Aru, Kenny Elissonde, Joe Dombrowski and Ilnur Zakarin - at the age of 18!].

 

“Today’s victory is very important for the team, our sponsors and me, bearing in mind that we’re a wildcard team. It shows that we can fight and win stages."

 

Renat Khamidulin, general manager of Gazprom-RusVelo, could hardly contain his joy immediately after the conclusion of this stage: 

 

“I knew that sooner or later Foliforov and Firsanov would prove their worth. The team was looking for its first win in Giro d’Italia and we all knew that we could get it. It is a success that rewards these guys, our sponsors and our partner Ernesto Colnago. We had the honor of being invited to the Giro and with this success we have proven that we didn’t come here just for a ride, but for the top results. And now we’ve done it.”

 

Foliforov’s teammate Firsanov was fourth.

 

“This day gives us also a great confidence», Khamidulin continues. «This win is obtained after the tough stage of yesterday from Alpago to Corvara. Undoubtedly, this victory gives us a lot of confidence in ourselves before the next stages. The real Giro d’Italia has just started and in the coming days everything can happen. Cyclism is good also for this: there is always something to lose, but also something to conquer. And these emotions give us great strength.”

 

Steven Kruijswijk: Now I believe that I can win this race

Steven Kruijswijk successfully defended his pink jersey in the time trial up the Alpe di Siusi and gained time on his opponents in the Giro d’Italia. Kruijswijk lost the stage by 0.16 seconds to Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo), but ended the day with 2'12” on Esteban Chaves (Orica - GreenEdge) in second and 2'51" on Vincenzo Nibali (Team Astana) in third.

 

Over the 10.8-kilometre mountain time trial, Foliforov rode 28'39". At the first check, Kruijswijk was faster than his main rival Nibali was. The Dutchman put 30 seconds into him there.

 

"I did not expect this and I think Jan Boven also not," said an enthusiastic Addy Engels. "Jan did the coaching. I drove the car. When we arrived at the first intermediate point, we were already 30 seconds faster than Nibali. I thought, ‘Gosh, I hope he did not start too fast,’ but it also gave us a huge boost. We saw him extending his lead and that something very special is happening.

 

"In the end, we noticed he could also go for the victory. But uphill you do not go faster than you can. He fought until the finish, you could see that. A second place here is superb, but the most important thing is that he takes time on the competition."

 

Kruijswijk worked throughout the year towards the Giro d'Italia and went with the team at an altitude training in Tenerife, where he laid the foundation for this year's Giro.

 

"This is my big goal this year and now fortunately, it all comes together," Kruijswijk said. "This morning, I was hoping I could keep the pink jersey and it did really not matter with how many seconds. I never thought that I could increase my lead in the standings. I’m in shape and I feel good. It’s nice to have this feeling before the heavy final week. I am definitely a contender for the victory. Even I believe it after today.”

 

"I really wanted to win the stage as well. I finished second yesterday as well. I heard towards the end that I was close to the victory but most importantly I gained time over my rivals on GC. I did everything for that and I'm confident that I'll be able to defend the Maglia Rosa during the last week.

 

"This morning I was hoping to still have the jersey after the time trial. I knew I was really good after yesterday. I think the guys suffered a lot more than I did. I gave it all in this time trial. It's too bad I didn't win but I think I showed that my condition is very good. I even gained time on my rivals, so it's looking good.

 

"I saw that I started really fast. I think I had the fastest intermediate time. But I was a little bit too excited at the start I think, and I had to ease up a little bit. Then my coach didn't give any time gaps anymore, he just said go full. I tried to keep my pace, and just in the last kilometer he said to try for the win as well. I tried to go full and I did, but I was a little too slow. It's too bad I didn't win the stage this weekend, but I'm very happy to still have this jersey.

 

"It's a very different time trial. I did not have time to rest on the climb but I think I showed yesterday that my condition is very good and I know what I can do. Especially when you have the pink jersey, you have an extra motivation so it's really cool! "

 

"I do not know if I can win the Giro, you never know what can happen. I just want to take it day by day, make a plan and keep an eye on the other riders.

 

"Of course it's still a long week to go, but we will see. We have to take it day by day. I think I've showed I'm one of the better riders in this race, and I'm feeling confident. Hopefully like last year I can start to race as well in the last week and play with the guys. I'm confident my team is strong enough to help me with this.

 

"I missed out on the win but I took time out of my rivals and that's the main thing.

 

"I knew it was a 30 minute time trial and that I had to start fast to not lose too much time. I was lucky to keep a high pace. I went full gas and focused on keeping a good rhythm. The last two kilometres were the hardest of all.

 

"It's a historical day for me because to be honest I never expected to be in lead at the weekend before the last week.

 

"Perhaps it's a surprise for Dutch cycling fans too, but I'm just really happy I'm still in the leader's pink jersey. I didn't expect to gain so much time on my competitors but I'm in the best shape I've ever been.

 

"My life hasn't suddenly changed just because I'm in the maglia rosa. It's a different situation but I'm enjoying. Starting last in the time trial and in pink is a dream come true, it's a great feeling to have this jersey, it's not a problem. I'm trying to enjoy what I'm doing but I'm staying focused too.

 

"There's a lot of attention but it's nice attention. There's no extra pressure, there's only pressure from myself. I hope the best is still to come. I‘ve been a leader in a Grand Tour but I never expected this. I'm still getting stronger after the last few years. I hope to keep enjoying it right to the end."

 

"I don't think I have won yet because there's still one week to go; a lot can happen in the Giro. You have to be focused in the last week. But I do think I showed this weekend that I'm riding well enough to win the Giro. But the race ends next Sunday, so we'll see what happens.

 

"I honestly think that Chaves, Nibali and Valverde are still dangerous. Yesterday it was close. I'm not sure what happened to Nibali today but I know I've still got to watch the top five guys, try to follow them and control them.

 

"I think my team is really good here to be honest. They always put me in the best position for the climbs and I've never spent energy on the flat. We have strong guys to help me defend this jersey. Of course It'll be up to be in the finale but I know they'll be there for me. I'm looking forward to the stages to come.

 

"I'm not sure what's going to happen in the final week of the Giro. The final mountain stages are really demanding with some high altitude moments. I'll have to see how things go if I'm feeling like this, I don't have to be scared.

 

“I don’t know the coming mountain stages with precision but the last two will be very demanding because of the altitude.”

 

Alejandro Valverde: I am still there to fight

There's always 'Bala' after the storm. Alejandro Valverde proved once again why he's a legend of cycling. It doesn't matter how many times he falls down: he will always get back on his feet. Today he took almost two minutes back on pre-race favourite Vincenzo Nibali (AST) to sit just 37" off the overall podium.

 

His exhibition could already be felt at the intermediate point, following the start of the 9km, 11%-maximum ascent, where Valverde took 18" on the Italian, who later suffered a gear failure. Combined with Valverde’s strength, everything that went wrong in the first Dolomites stage was happily forgotten. The Giro is still alive: Valverde's back, and there's still one long week to keep dreaming.

 

On the other hand, Andrey Amador still struggled after wear and tear in yesterday's grueling ride. The Costa Rican hero now sits seventh overall – overtaken by Rafal Majka (TNK) and Ilnur Zakarin (KAT) - at 5’27” from the Maglia Rosa, Steven Kruijswijk (TLJ) who reinforced his lead after coming just a few tenths short of the day's victory by Alexander Foliforov (GAZ).

 

The riders will enjoy a well-deserved, final rest day on Monday before action resumes with stage 16, from Bressanone to Andalo, with 132km and three categorized climbs.

 

Valverde said:

"Yesterday's stage was neither really bad nor good at all - just a so-so day. I'm simply not used to staying at high altitude for so long. I wasn't feeling like myself. It killed me. My body felt so strange, I was a bit dizzy... it was really difficult to keep up.

 

”Today was a completely different situation. I'm happy again, satisfied to have returned to my real level. We're still up for the fight - there's a long way to go in this Giro, and gaps can be created everywhere.

 

"It was a day that neither completely good nor bad, it was just regular. It was difficult today but I'm happy, I'm still in the fight and there's a lot of Giro still to come, a lot of stages to gain time.

 

"In the end, we're all human beings. This is sport. You can have good days and bad days and regular days. Today Nibali had a regular day but with bad luck, because he had to change his bike. Still, Nibali is a big fighter and he'll go on. He's in good shape. It's just that he's up against someone who's superior at the moment.

 

"The final mountain stages are totally different, because you go down into the valley and then climb back up again. Yesterday we were constantly going back and forth between 2,200 metres and 1,800 metres. We were at altitude the whole time and that was what really killed me. But the big mountains coming up next week are different.

 

"Today, Steven Kruijswijk is the favorite, I honestly think that he is the strongest.”

 

Sports director Chente García Acosta added:

 

"I did imagine a day like this for Alejandro. Already this morning, when we went on a final recon of the TT course, he said to me he was doing great. Yesterday's stage was a bad day, in the worst possible scenario. It all turned grim for Alejandro: the length of the stage, the steep slopes, the combined vertical gain, and above them all, the altitude. I knew he would turn back good again. This result will be a big boost for his morale; I'm looking forward to seeing him doing great in the upcoming days."

 

Andrey Amador hopes to recover from illness for final week of the Giro d’Italia

Andrey Amador said:

 

"My legs weren't feeling as I'd have liked them to be. I haven't still recovered from some flu I'm suffering from a couple of days ago - I just hope I can recover to keep helping the team. I think Valverde is doing great; let's keep supporting him for the next few stages."

 

Michele Scarponi confirms great form with excellent mountain time trial

"I had a good feeling right from the warm-up and during the race I managed to keep a good rhythm. I'm very satisfied with my time trial,” said Michele Scarponi.

 

The Italian rider finished in fifth place, only 36 seconds behind Foliforov.

 

Vincenzo Nibali: Today I paid, maybe it’s Kruijswijk who will ppay next.

"It was a bad day,” Vincenzo Nibali said. “I never found the right cadence, and then there was the mechanical in the final." Nibali is now third overall at 2 minutes and 51 seconds behind the leader.

 

"Today I paid. Yesterday Valverde paid, maybe the day after tomorrow Kruijswijk could pay, I don't know. You have to accept results like that.

 

”There was a bit of irritation at the finish, but it's normal that after the race you have to catch your breath and it's hard to think about responding to questions straight away."

 

"The chain slipped out, and then the derailleur broke while I was trying to put it back on.

 

"The tifosi were very close all the way up the climb and I'm happy about that too because there was great support and that's always pleasant. Obviously the tifosi always want victory, but we're people and there are moments when things don't go very well.

 

"There's a nice gap. But va bene così."

 

Manager Alexandre Viokourov said:

 

"I haven't seen Vincenzo [Nibali] yet, but he had a very difficult day. He had a problem with the mechanical. It's not great for the morale, and not a good day for him altogether. We lost a lot today, but I don't think it's won yet for Kruijswijk.

 

”We'll keep working on our strategy and see what we can do. We have a good team, we're strong, we showed today that we are all here for Vincenzo. The stage yesterday was hard and he had to fight hard, and he had to fight today. It's not over until Turin, we'll see what happens."

 

"It can happen in a long three-week race to have bad moments. But we are calm, we know we have a good team and for sure we will battle in the last week,” added sports director Paolo Slongo.

 

Esteban Chaves: I will keep my feet on the ground

Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia saw Colombian contender Esteban Chaves produce another incredible ride for ORICA-GreenEDGE to finish in sixth place on the day and move up to second in the general classification.

 

Chaves, the winner of yesterday’s Queen stage, rode out of his skin in today’s 10.8kilometre race against the clock with the 26-year-old gaining time on all but one of his rivals and moving into second ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

 

Chaves is now two minutes twelve seconds down on race leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo).

 

“The feeling is really good after these two stages in the mountains,” said Chaves. “Today was very hard but we are happy because we gave the maximum amount of effort that we could and we got a good result.

 

“There is still a long way to go and we will continue to ride as we have been doing and stay positive going into the next stage.

 

"I'm really tired. I think everyone is really, really tired too, but we're also really happy because as a team Orica-GreenEdge has some excellent results. I can only thank the team again. We tried to do the max and this is the result.

 

"I suffered a lot today but we've worked hard for this. Now after three big mountain stages things are looking good for me, for the team and so we're very happy. This is the first time Orica-GreenEdge has really targeted a Grand Tour victory and so far thing are going really well. We did the maximum we could and this is the result. We'll keep our feet on the ground though and stay focused because we know it won't be easy.

 

"It's not true that I didn't push that much at the beginning, I was pushing all the way. I think I did a good ride. It was a hard day as I expected but we're happy, it's another day safe. Tomorrow is a rest day and then after tomorrow we'll start to think about next week. We're going to continue as we have so far in the race, to be competitive for three full weeks.

 

"We will continue to fight. This is one more day done and tomorrow is the rest day. I must rest and hope the legs respond well during the last week. In the coming days, it is especially the head that will be important. We got to a point where it is difficult to be more tired. We will have to suffer a lot and believe in the team. "

 

"It is a very good balance for the team, Esteban Chaves and for the country. We have a good lead after the queen stage and we can be a bit quieter because we have to keep working. "

 

Sport director Matt White was over the moon after another fantastic performance from Chaves at a crucial point in the race.

 

“It was an extremely tough course today,” said White. “There could be better uphill time trials for Esteban (Chaves), but nonetheless he rode this one to perfection.

 

“It was very fast and flying at the start and he showed himself to be one of the fastest guys on the climb out of the whole field.

 

“We can look forward to some hard stages and competition in the last week. There are thousands of metres of climbing to come and lots of racing but we are super happy to be in this position after another great day.”

 

Ilnur Zakarin closer to the top 5 after great TT in the Giro d’Italia

Another very important stage was held at the Giro d’Italia: the riders rode a mountain individual time trial of 10,8 km from Castelrotto to Alpe di Siusi.

 

Team KATUSHA’s leader Ilnur Zakarin did a very strong race, marking 7th time at the finish, 47 seconds behind stage winner Alexander Foliforov of Gazprom-Rusvelo, who edged out race leader Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) by just 16 hundreds of a second.

 

The result in the ITT allowed Ilnur Zakarin to move up to 6th place in general classification with only 2 seconds far from 5th place of Rafal Majka (Tinkoff).

 

“I had a plan to do this time trial with 100%, from the start until the top. I felt good and tried to do well first part, but also to save some energy for the final. I think that I succeeded. I wanted to win some time from my rivals and finally I moved up in classification. Still a week is ahead with a number of very important stages. I will go day by day, giving by best in every stage,” said Ilnur Zakarin.

 

Another Team KATUSHA rider Rein Taaramäe also did a very strong race, finishing 12th, 1.17 behind the winner.

 

At the intermediate time check, after 4,4 kilometer, Zakarin showed the second best time, 9 seconds behind Kruijswijk. At the finish Zakarin lost some ground, but anyway he did a solid time trial.

 

Rigoberto Uran: This was not the desired result

Rigoberto Uran could only manage 50th and dropped out of the top 10

 

"I did a maximum effort but we did not get the desired result,” Rigoberto Uran told Cyclingpro.net. “We will continue to work even if we have had difficulties in recent days. We are always present. The level is very high but I think it's hard for everyone. "

 

Bob Jungels time trials his way back into the top 10 at the Giro d’Italia

Bob Jungels had two goals at the start of Giro d'Italia's stage 15: return to the top 10 overall and make sure he puts more time into his rivals in the U25 classification.

 

12th in the standings following Saturday's queen-stage, Jungels enjoyed a fast start which saw him post the fastest provisional time at the 4.4-km split. His resolute display continued on the tough ramps of Alpe di Siusi – which was returning on the course after a 7-year hiatus – and as he powered on the ascent and continued to gain time on many of his opponents, it became obvious he will get another impressive result at the Corsa Rosa. Stopping the clock in 29:43, the Luxembourg champion finished in 9th position, nabbing his fifth top 10 finish in the space of two weeks, and made an impressive jump in the general classification, up to 8th place.

 

"I'm really happy with the way I rode in this very difficult time trial. The climb was better suited to me than the ones of Saturday, so I had a fast start and afterwards I just stayed focused on my effort and gave 100% till the line. Unfortunately, the wind changed near the top and because of this I lost some time. Overall, I'm satisfied with my ride and with getting another top 10", were the first conclusions of Bob Jungels following the last time trial of this edition. "I'm now 8th in the GC and my goal for the final week will be to keep my top 10 until Turin. Now we have a rest day and then a hard week awaits, which will be difficult not only for me, but also for the other riders. Normally, I recover well, but you can never know, so we'll take things day by day."


Rafal Majka: The podium is still possible

Passing through the intermediate time check looking strong, Rafal Majka finished the stage in tenth position, and his strong climb enabled him to move one step further up the GC rankings, going into Tuesday’s mountain stage fifth in the overall.

 

Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, noted from the finish.

 

"It was a tough course out there, with a false flat to start for a few kilometres before the real climbing started. In and out of the saddle it was full gas from start to finish."

 

After a strong effort, Tinkoff’s Polish leader crossed the line with a time of 29’48” – a time that, once all the riders were home, was enough to earn him a top ten finish on the stage. His performance also moved him up a step on the GC, taking fifth position overall. After his fast time and strong finishing position, Majka was definitely looking forward to the rest day.

 

"It was a tough stage today and I just gave everything I could, but suffered. It has been a few hard days and the rest day comes at a good time tomorrow. There are still a lot of opportunities ahead and it was good to climb another spot on GC today.

 

"It was not easy, I suffered a lot. But I think there is still a chance to get on the podium. If not, I'll try to win a stage. Today we had to go fast from the very first kilometer, but I suffered in the end. This is cycling.”

 

Hoffman added:

 

"As expected the outcome of today was quite like yesterday, some of the GC guys were faster, some slower, but Rafal rode a good time trial and gave it everything he had. Tomorrow we've got the rest day, which is coming at a good time I think for the guys, as it has been a tough few days, then the race hits the mountains again on Tuesday and we'll be ready to go again.”

 

Diego Ulissi delivers great TT performance in the Giro d’Italia.

There were two pleasant results for LAMPRE-MERIDA from Diego Ulissi and Simone Petilli.


The winner of two stages completed the time trial in 28'51", 1'12" more than Foliforov, obtaining 11th place; the young rider, at his first appearance in the Pink Race, stopped the clock in 29'34", 20th best performance of the stage.

In the general classification, Ulissi is 25th at 37.13.

 

Mario Scirea, who directs LAMPRE-MERIDA in the Giro together with his colleague Orlando Maini, explained:

 

"Ulissi was focused to see how far he could go in a test of this type. The information obtained is very good, both in terms of his approach to the mountain time trial and the result.

 

“It was also an excellent result for Petilli: up to now, Simone has done a very invisible job but he is very important and of great quality. It is a good result for a gut at his debut in the Corsa Rosa.

 

Team Sky prove depth with three riders in the top 20 in Giro time trial

Ian Boswell, Sebastian Henao and David Lopez all impressed with top-20 times on the stage 15 mountain time trial at the Giro d'Italia.

 

Boswell sat on the leader's hot seat for a stint after completing the 10.8-kilometre Alpe di Siusi test in a strong time of 30 minutes and four seconds.

 

That effort held up well for 15th on the day, with Henao finishing just three places and 11 seconds further back in 18th. That performance ensured that the Colombian retained the same position overall, and second spot in the young rider classification.

 

24 hours after going up the road in the breakaway, David Lopez bagged 19th to make it three Team Sky riders inside the top 20. Mikel Nieve also demonstrated his stage-winning legs still remain, taking 21st ahead of the third and final rest day.

 

Boswell was eventually unseated after an effort of 28:39 by a flying Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo), and the Russian's time was enough to seal victory on the day.

 

After setting a strong time Boswell admitted he is keen to look ahead to the race's final week, with his form hinting that there is more to come from the American.

 

"It was good for me to just see that I'm climbing well," he explained to TeamSky.com. "I haven't really done much in this race up until now so I think in the next week I want to try to have a go for a stage win.

 

"It was a good day out there. It was nice and sunny and a beautiful stage. It's nice to be in the Dolomites in this good weather and just enjoy the scenery!"

 

On his time in the hot seat, a typically modest Boswell added: "I beat all the sprinters for a while and then the GC guys came up. It was good. I do a lot of training where I go for Stravas on climbs and testing them. So I think it's a good sign for the week to come. My form is there, it's just a matter of putting it all together one day and getting in the right breakaways to fight for stage wins. We had three riders in the top 20 so I think it shows we have a pretty deep team here."

 

Disappointment for Maxime Monfort in Giro mountain time trial

For Lotto Soudal, Tim Wellens set the seventeenth time, he needed 1’36” more than Foliforov. Maxime Monfort only got 46th and lost one position on GC and is now sixteenth.

 

"It was a difficult stage for me,” Monfort said. “This morning, I felt a great improvement in my condition compared to last night where I was physically bad. So, I had good hopes for today. But I soon had to realize that I did not have much in the legs. I tried to lose the least amount of time but it was difficult. Still, I remain confident for next week. I still have great things to do in this Giro. "

 

Kanstantsin Siutsou still in the top 10, Anton ready to attack in the mountains

For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka the main priority on today's testing 10.8km uphill course was for Kanstantsin Siutsou to conserve his 9th place on the overall classification. The rest of the African Team riders were really just looking to get through the stage without having to burn too many unnecessary matches.

 

 

All the African Team riders got up the climb okay and Siutsou did a really strong ride, powering through the final 2km headwind really well. He finished 1'59" down on the stage winner but most importantly he kept his 9th place overall and even put a bit of time between himself and the rider in 10th position.

 

Igor Anton said:


“The Giro is here. You can feel the body is tired but it is normal because it is already the 15th stage and after yesterday, I need rest. I took today's chrono easy because it is better to stay in a good condition for next week. I have 3 stage options next week and I would really like to take one of these chances. It will either be on Thursday, Friday or Saturday in those mountain stages. After today though we are really happy with Kanstantsin and his position in the general classification.”

 

Disappointment for Domenico Pozzovivo in Giro mountain TT

"After two hard days, this was a demanding time trial that did not give any chance to hide yourself,” Domenico Pozzovivo said. “I tried to handle myself and do the best. I did not have super sensations so I think I defended myself well."

 

"The rest day comes at the right time,” sports director Julien Jurdie said. “The bodies were very tired. Regarding the assessment of the day, it is a little disappointing. We had targeted a better place with Domenico Pozzovivo today (26th). He suffered in the final, in the last two kilometers. He could not keep up the pace.

 

“This week will be analyzed well and we will motivate the troops for the final weel. There are still beautiful stages that are perfect for us. The aim will be to win a stage which could allow us to enter the top ten of the Giro.”

 

Pozzovivo gave FDJ a scare in Giro mountain time trial

Yesterday Arnaud Demare abandoned the race.

 

"He woke up at 5.30am, just like his roommate Mickael Delage,” explains sports director Martial Gayant. “In three hours, Arnaud had lost 2 kilos and he was left without force. It was impossible to continue. Mika Delage was not good but through courage, he managed to get through the terrible stage and finish inside the time limit today.“

 

Deprived of its two leaders and Marc Sarreau who had thrown in the towel on Friday in a great state of fatigue, FDJ is going into a different last week but the team got some encouragement from Arnaud Courteille who did a good time trial.

 

"I'm a little surprised, I did not expect that and it reassures me because I have had no great feelings in the previous mountain stages, said Courteille. “I did this TT full gas and it gives me confidence before the last week. I'll try to go into the breakaways." 

 

Despite their fears, his five teammates made the time cut.

 

"The guys had heard that Pozzovivo had done this climb in 26 minutes on a training ride and so thought that they had to finish within 7 or 8 minutes of that time,” explains Gayant. Mika Delage, despite his condition, was fine. Murilo Fischer reached the finish in 35 minutes and was a little scared but eventually the winner had to use more than 28 minutes and the time limit was ten minutes." 

 

"Here we are in a small friendly hotel with nice people who feed us organic products: honey, blueberry jam. We are the only team here and it will make us much good.”

 

Riccardo Zoidl ready to attack in final week of the Giro d’Italia

With the stage 15 uphill time trial completed and the much-awaited rest day scheduled tomorrow, Trek-Segafredo welcomes the opportunity to recharge as they look ahead to the final week.

 

Losing GC leader Ryder Hesjedal was a big blow yesterday, leaving the team out of the fight in the overall classification, but with the red points jersey planted firmly on the shoulders of Giacomo Nizzolo, and two sprint stages remaining, the team has its objectives to fulfill for the final six days.

 

In the 10.8-kilometer uphill time trial Sunday, Riccardo Zoidl, was the highest finisher of the team in a time of 31:26 – a solid ride to place him in 37th place – but after two weeks, and one day after the punishing queen stage, Zoidl, as so many, struggled to find any climbing power.

 

"I really felt yesterday," said Zoidl. "After the first intermediate time, I was 15 seconds behind the best time, but after that, I saw my power go down, down, down. But, okay, tomorrow is the rest day and I need this rest day very much, we all do, and then we will go on the attack next week.

 

"It's a pity that we lost Ryder yesterday. It was my job to look after him, and I did this until now. I was one time in a break last week, and that didn't work. It's been a hard Giro so far but I hope next week I can go in a breakaway again and go for a result and finish it off well."

 

Rest. Regroup. Recharge. Then it's full speed ahead for Trek-Segafredo with its goals still lingering over its head.

 

Damiano Cunego recovers ahead of important final week at the Giro d’Italia

"Today was a day that I could take relaxed, really. The last couple of days I was attacking all the time. Today I tried to measure the effort, and tomorrow's the rest day - then we'll start again,” Damiano Cunego said.

 

"I have a few points lead now, but I'm not sure if it's mathematically done."

 

Giant-Alpecin save energy in Giro d’Italia time trial

For Giant-Alpecin, Tobias Ludvigsson was best in 43rd place

 

After yesterday’s huge ride, Georg Preidler also put in a strong climb to finish with a time of 32’03”, leaving him in 55th position.

 

After the finish, coach Marc Reef said: “We knew that today there wasn’t anything to win for us, so we didn’t go full gas on the climb. We choose to set a steady pace, and to save our energy for the days to come where we will look to continue taking our opportunities where we can.”

 

Ludvigsson added: “I rode a nice tempo on the climb, and I’m pleased that the feeling was good today after a couple of days with stomach problems. First of all I am looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day, and then to tackling the final week.”

 

Darwin Atapuma disappointed to lose time in Giro d’Italia time trial

After a phenomenal effort of the Queen Stage on Stage 14, Darwin Atapuma was BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider in 53rd place.

 

Atapuma now sits in 15th on the General Classification.

 

Darwin Atapuma said:

 

“I’m quite disappointed as I lost time today on the other General Classification riders. There was a lot of pain that’s for sure. After yesterday’s stage my legs felt pretty heavy. I’m glad that tomorrow is a rest day so I can recover well and rest my legs before the last week of racing. Then it’s back to going full gas on Tuesday.”

 

Max Sciandri, Sports Director, added:

 

“Given it was a complete uphill time trial and only good for the pure sprinters, it was a good day just to get to the finish for most of the guys. Darwin was sitting in 14th on GC at the start of the day so the plan was to really go for it and try and move up on GC. You could see that he was struggling to get a good pace and the effort of yesterday was still in his legs. Other than that, it went as expected for the other guys. After the rest day we move into the last week of racing, so it’s our last opportunity to go for a stage win and keep racing aggressively.”

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