Giro d'Italia (st. 19)
Movistar Team courageously kept the teams’ overall leadership despite a bonking by Intxausti, and will keep fighting for the podium in Milano tomorrow over the horrific Mortirolo and Stelvio
Beñat Intxausti could not keep his coveted place within the best ten overall in the 2012 Giro d’Italia. The young Basque climber -who was suffering from a flu already since last Friday- ended up bonking on stage 19, the first of two monster tapponi in the Dolomites to sort out the final GC, and featuring the passes through Manghen (Cat. 1), Pampeago (Cat. 1), Lavazè (Cat. 2) and Alpe di Pampeago (finish) in the final 75k. The Movistar Team leader got dropped into the first ascent, but despite the hard moral blow of seeing how his chances fainted, he had the courage to finish the stage within the few sprinters still on course. Well before him came Fran Ventoso, one of the day’s protagonists after making the 15-rider break leading the way early in the morning, and whose last survivors were overcome by Roman Kreuziger (AST) to claim the day’s win.
With their GC man absent, Movistar Team had to multiply their efforts to keep the coveted teams’ overall lead. And they made it. Bruseghin, Pardilla, Samoilau and Amador were always into the 30-man lead group and minimized any losses into the final 5k to give out three minutes and a half on the Lampre squad and keep the top spot, still with 8.37 ahead as they enter a horrific penultimate stage in this year’s Giro. No less than 219k between Caldes and the Passo dello Stelvio, this year’s Cima Coppi with 2,757 meters above sea level after 22km on a 7% average gradient, also including the mythical Mortirolo (11km / 10.5%, with slopes up to 22%).