“The beginning of the stage was a huge disaster, we weren’t concentrated and we messed up into all early moves. We were lucky we got into racing manners after that.” Those were words from Pablo Lastras while always remembering the teammate that had left them. The grief from Xavi Tondo’s death -the Catalan rider creamted today in Olot (Girona) with all Movistar Team non-active riders present- that initially blocked the squad’s forces in the 2011 Giro’s 17th stage, but later pushed them to search for the dreamt victory the team wants to dedicate to his friend.
Lastras was 2nd at Tirano’s finish after a very long 170k break with fifteen other riders. The Madrilian was undoubtedly a deserved victory contestant, attacking up to three times in the finale before creating the final selection with Visconti (FAR), Bakelants (OLO) and Ulissi (LAM), which contested the victory with him in a close, polemic sprint, won by the young Italian after Visconti was relegated due to an irregular manoeuvre. Movistar Team sports director José Luis Arrieta revised the final rush with the jury, but was unable to convince them of the trajectory change from both local riders: “They say Ulissi is changing his line because Visconti pushes him to the middle, and it’s impossible to make them change.“
“I knew I couldn’t jump after any attack, because if you do it, you end up ruining your chances. And I tried it by myself a few times, but Visconti was my shadow today. At the sprint, the problem wasn’t like the one with Vicioso a couple of weeks ago. Both two are fast riders and I must lose nine sprints out of ten with them… I launched my sprint towards the wind, through a line that made difficult to get past them and I couldn’t see anything either. I lacked 50 more meters because I was really strong there, I started a bit late. I don’t know it it was just they would have both been relegated, but Visconti was really strong into the break, Ulissi wasn’t. I think I did things right, but it seems like I’ve lost the winning instinct I had before. I felt fucked up yesterday with Xavi’s death and it was difficult for us to get into the stage today, too. It’s obvious that remembering him gives you a bit more moral for the race. I was even dropping from the bunch in the first kilometers due to allergy problems, that experience tells me that you may recover in a 230k stage. I’m a bit furious, because I knew I would have a couple of opportunities to win in this Giro, and couldn’t take any of them to success.”