After four days on the attack to bring the best tribute for Xavi Tondo, ultimately Movistar Team took what got them together last Monday, when all team members decided to continue into the Giro: a victory to remember their teammate.
The rider in charge of crowning the excellent work from all Movistar Team during this week vas Vasil Kiryienka. The Belarusian rider completed a memorable exhibition atop the Sestriere climb, taking to fruition a breakaway that started shortly after the start and concluded after 230k, the Eastern powerhours escaping 40 kilometers from the finishing line and riding solo through the feared climbs of the Colle delle Finestre and Sestriere. Kiry was not only able to keep the 4-minute gap on the foot of the final ascent with the favourites’ group, but took it up to six minutes when he came across the line, with his arms pointing to heaven. The best homage for Xavi.
Vasil Kiryienka: “This was the best way to remember a teammate that was with us only for this season, but yet seemed to have been here for so much time. I didn’t know Xavi really much, but shared some moments with him in the Ardennes classics week and he was an enthusiastic person with cycling. We decided that the best form to pay him tribute was staying into the Giro, and I think we made a good choice because winning in such a hard mountain stage and into such a long break, it was a kind of winning that he liked so much.
I had won a similar stage in my first Giro participation, also through a long, 240k distance, with mountains… but this was an even more beautiful day, as well due to the meaning as for the weather conditions. I was fighting to make a good GC result into the first two weeks, but I suffered a crisis at the Marmolada stage right from the Giau, and it was hard for me to recover because I went through so many kilometers on energy deficit.
I played it from far long into the Finestre climb, because I saw we had shorter and shorter time gaps and the pace into the break was not the best. I was a bit nervous because I was feeling myself good and I knew that, after all we had fought these days, it was the last chance to bring a victory to Tondo. I set a strong rhythm, then accelerated a bit more and nobody could follow me. I knew it was a time trial until the finish and it all turned out good. I had very strong legs today. Apart from Xavi Tondo, I remembered much of my family and my kids, who I’ll enjoy with in just two days.”