Movistar Team have taken their biggest triumph in their short career in top cycling on stage 6 of the 94th Giro d’Italia. Spaniard Fran Ventoso took the splendid teamwork by all telephone group to fruition by beating some of the world’s best specialists in the uphill finish in Fiuggi, after a long, nasty 216 trek full of slopes.
The success by the sprinter from Reinosa -his fifth in the 2011 season, the 27th in his pro career and the Blue team’s thirteenth of the year- was based on the great team effort during the closing phase, in pursuit of a five-man break that dropped one by one to eventually surrender with less than two kilometers from the finish. The effort by Carlos Oyarzun, Ignatas Konovalovas and Branislau Samoilau in the final climbs kept the pace always high before the volata, where Ventoso, always on the wheel of points leader Petacchi (LAM), kept the effort for 300 everlasting meters to give Eusebio Unzué’s squad their first victory of the year in a Grand Tour.
Fran Ventoso: “I’m really, really happy. I wasn’t being lucky these days; actually, I had a puncture yesterday when I was into the best thirty with victory chances, but everything bad disappears after today’s victory, and I’m specially happy because this was a stage I had marked bold before taking off for the Giro. I was convinced I could have some options today, and the team was sensational and gambled for me. Oyarzun and Konovalovas pushed to reel the breakaway down and Samoilau did a strong work in the final climb, hats off for him. Between the 10k and 5k marks the slopes weren’t really hard, but the pace was big and I was about to surrender many times. Once I got through the tunnel, I felt strong again and knew I had underwent through the hardest part of it.
“I took Petacchi’s wheel with one kilometer to go; his teammate Hondo was the one controlling all the attacks in the finale, and Di Luca attacked with 500 meters to go, but I was already looking for my sprinting distance. When I jumped off, Petacchi took my wheel and I though we could overcome me, but I could stick to the very end of this long, hard sprint to take the victory. It’s an enormous joy for the team and myself, four years after having done my last GT. In this moment I remember many prople; trying to name them at this moment would be unfair because I would be missing some of them, but above all I remember of the people that was there in the bad moments, and, how to forget it, also Weylandt, because he took chances on the road as we do and we can’t forget him. I have taken already five victories this year and it looks like I’m over the moon at Movistar Team. This is a very calm group that makes me race with serenity, because they back you will full confidence on everything.”