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"My goal wasn't to win but to be ahead, and then for the team to make a move at Lago Laceno and on the final climb, as they did. I was there as a point of reference for the final."





17.05.2015 @ 21:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

"This has been hard first week for everybody in the race. The Giro is a race for hard men."


Those were the words of Astana's Paolo Tiralongo after winning stage nine at the Giro d'Italia. Tiralongo attacked his day-long breakaway of 11 riders in the final kilometers to chase down a lone escapee, then passed his companion with 5k to the finish for a solo victory.


Teammates Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa rode aggressively behind Tiralongo to put pressure on overall leader Alberto Contador of Spain, with Aru successfully gaining one second on the Spaniard at the finish.


After one full week of racing at the 2015 Giro d'Italia, Fabio Aru is in second overall, three seconds behind Contador - Landa is fourth overall at 46 seconds and Dario Cataldo is fifth at 1:16.


Aru leads the Best Young Rider competition by nearly three minutes as the race pauses on Monday for a scheduled rest day.


"Last night, we talked about yesterday's stage," Tiralongo added. "We didn't make mistakes, because even with a team as strong as this, it wasn't easy to take back 8 minutes. We knew that we had good men to pull and try to win, becuse yesterday the goal was to win a stage with Landa, and to make Sky and Alberto work, becasue Landa and Cataldo are both still high in the GC. We will now use them when we can. And we'll keep Fabio in contention. It didn't go badly for us, because we got 2nd. But tactically we moved well. Perhaps we were a pull or two short - I don't know how far behind Landa finished from the winner, but we did our work perfectly. 

"Today, our tactic was different. Today the idea was for me or Rosa to get in the breakaway. In the end, I created the breakaway and pulled it away. There were some good riders in it, My goal wasn't to win but to be ahead, and then for the team to make a move at Lago Laceno and on the final climb, as they did. I was there as a point of reference for the final.


"In the end, the team car gave me the OK to go for the stage. I could hear on the radio that, behind, Aru and Landa were moving well. They gained on Urán, which was important. Now we are looking forawrd to the real mountain stages, because, to me, that's where the Giro d'Italia will be decided.


"Sky, strangely, have never taken the race by the scruff of the neck. But it is entirely logical because, with Porte, they know that they have the advantage in the time trial, so, for the moment, they are staying in the background. Our tactic is to use riders like Cataldo and Landa to make them work. But it doesn't worry us in the slightest. We believe in our group. My stage win will give us confidence, and now we'll work for our main objective: the Maglia Rosa.

"It's true, I'm an old-style rider. I lived through another era, although I too prefer to sleep alone for 3 weeks. I get nervous during a three-week tour and I need my space and privacy. The team allows me that luxury. But I change bed every night, that's for sure. For them, it's a way of not changing habits, going from bed to bed and place to place. They are all things that modern technology allows you to change. But for me, they make no sense."


Week two will bring some flat days along the Adriatic seacoast, then a challenging weekend with a very difficult 59km individual time trial on stage fourteen and a mountaintop finish the following day at stage fifteen.



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