Giro d'Italia (st. 14)
Costa Rican sensation culminates a long break for an unforgettable win in the hardest day in the Giro to date, opens victory account in Movistar Team colours
The most fighting rider in the 2012 Giro d’Italia found a deserved prize to his relentless quest. Andrey Amador, 25 years old, the first Costa Rican to ever ride the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, has become today the first Center American cyclist to win a stage in the Italian grandtour. The Movistar Team rider notched up a colossal success in the summit of Cervinia, the end for stage fourteen -the hardest up to date in this year’s race- after taking to fruition his third escape in the race. This time, it was a 150-kilometer effort at the front for Amador, jumping with six other riders in the 60th kilometer after a big battle to make part of the decisive move.
The second part of the stage had two long, chained climbs (the Col de Joux and the mountain-top finish in Cervinia) with more than 50k of climbing. At the descent between those two, Amador overtook Jan Barta (APP) and went solo before being chased down at the 10-kilometer mark by Alessandro De Marchi (AND) and, shortly after, by Barta himself. The trio made it to the line after an agonic final 5k –the favourites’ group was able to reduce the 8-minute margin the leaders had at the beginning of the climb- with Amador able to squeeze energy from his empty tank to claim his first pro success -before turning a World Tour rider, he had already won stages in the UCI-categorized Tour de l’Avenir and Vuelta a Navarra- and take his maiden win in Movistar Team colours after a 4-year career.
The telephone squad -already 15 victories in their 2012 account- continues this way with an extraordinary Giro d’Italia: two stage wins (Amador and Ventoso), a second place (Intxausti), two third places (Visconti and Amador himself), two riders within the first 15 overall –Intxausti sits in 7th, with Pardilla in 13º; Hesjedal (GRM) is back on top- and the teams’ overall leadership, where they took the day’s win again. A second summit finish is scheduled for Sunday at Lecco / Pian dei Resinelli (Cat. 2; 8k / 7.8%), after a 169km trek with three other major climbs.
QUOTES Andrey Amador: “Being able to win my first race in the Giro is a dream come true for me. It was an incredible day and really hard due to the rain and the mountains. We all knew it was going to be hard, but the break had its chances to stay away and the first 60k were a tremendous fight to enter the break. Once it was made, they gave us that 10-minute gap that was not definitive, but kept us more calm though. At the first climb, when Barta attacked, we kept things easy and let him do the effort; he was one of the strongest ones and paid it off in the finale. At the descent, I knew I had to take risks to keep the gap against the bunch high. There was a 27-kilometer climb remaining and I had to take control of my energy. Even though I could push harder at some zones, I was always concerned about my wattage not to go too strong, and that was crucial because, when I got chased down by the Italian rider, I wasn’t out of energy. I profited from that to eat, drink and recover a little bit for the slopes coming ahead.
We knew that the group was coming closer, but none of us three had the strength to go solo. It was a hard fight and we had to keep our minds cold because they were going to take less time on us at the ending section. It was a risk, because sometimes it goes well and sometimes it does bad, just as it happened to me last year in a very similar finish in the Tirreno-Adriatico. At the finish, they were more nervous and I had saved some energy, so I could raise my arms, something I had forgotten I could do it. It was really difficult for me to win again. Things did not go well for me during my first two seasons as pro, and I went out of moral at some points. Fortunately, things changed last year and I took care of myself really much last winter, training like I have never done, spending a month on high altitude before the Giro, making so many sacrifices, and at the end you see that, with all that work, results end up coming. This win is for my family, which was always there; for my girlfriend, Laura, and for all the team, because I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t given me this chance. Also to Xavi and Mauricio, who always ride with us.”