Giro d'Italia (st. 8)
British time trial champion extends Movistar Team’s streak in the Grand Tours, wins ITT in Saltara against all race favourites – Intxausti suffers through the race, is now in 14th overall
PICTURES | Giro d’Italia gallery
Alex Dowsett has notched up a spectacular success on stage eight of the 2013 Giro d’Italia this Saturday. After Friday’s immense joy with the ‘maglia rosa’ achieved by Beñat Intxausti, the British elite time trial champion kept happiness alive for Movistar Team by beating some of the best specialists in the world for the day’s win. Dowsett rolled down the start ramp almost three hours before his rivals to stop the clock in 1h16m27 at the end of the hard, 54.8-kilometer course from Gabicce Mare to Saltara, whose central part -he was only beaten into the first intermediate point by Nibali- saw the Essex rider excelling to gain a decisive advantage before the final 3k, where Wiggins (SKY) and Nibali (AST) were close to beat hime, ending up in 2nd and 3rd, ten and twenty-one seconds behind the rider directed today by José Luis Arrieta.
Dowsett, aged 24, crowns himself in the first-ever grandtour he’s ever raced in four years as pro cyclist. Winner of the British national TT for the last two years, 8th in the 2012 Worlds and U23 European champion, this victory sets him definitely into the club of the world’s best timetriallists. In turn, Beñat Intxausti went through a bad day and lost almost four minutes on his team-mate, sitting now in 14th overall, three and a half minutes behind Nibali, the new pink jersey. Dowsett’s victory today keeps alive Movistar Team’s winning streak in the GT’s, all seven (3 Giros, 2 Tours, 2 Vueltas) since Telefónica sponsors the team in 2011. It’s also the 12th victory from Eusebio Unzué’s squad so far this season. Sunday will see the riders covering the final 170k before the first rest day: Sansepolcro-Firenze, with four categorized climbs where Giovanni Visconti will fight to defend his ‘maglia azzurra’ as KOM.
REACTION / Alex Dowsett: “It will take a bit of time before I realized what I have done, I still can’t believe myself. It was quite a harder TT than I expected; without a doubt, the hardest in my life. I took some extreme gears, a 55-29, to fight such different sections. The last climb seemed like it was never going to end, a cloud in my eyes as I believed I could never reach the finish. Before the start, getting into the best ten would have been enough for me, so being able to notch up the victory is amazing. The team had given me confidence to take things easy in the first week, thinking of this day. This was my goal, the day when I wanted to do my best. My personal ambitions are more than fulfilled with this victory, and from now on, my only duty will be working for my team-mates. Beñat lost a bit of time, but we will try to get him back close to the best overall again.”
Beñat Intxausti: “I would have wanted to be a little bit closer to the front to be honest, but I didn’t have my best day on the road, especially through the final 15k. Until then, things were going well, because the first part of the route suited me well, but then, I started struggling and I couldn’t get the body back into proper condition. I was completely out of energy, everybody could see that at the finish – I was empty. We’ll have to analyse why it happened and come to some conclusions for the future, but I don’t want to think of it further right know, because the most important thing at this moment is being recovered for tomorrow, when I want to be within the best again before Monday’s rest day, which will do well to all of us surely. I’m extremely happy about Alex’s victory – he deserves to win in such a big race. Taking pink yesterday, today’s victory… we’re on the good path, let’s hope it stays like this all the way to Brescia.”