Giro d'Italia (st. 5)
10th place for Quintana in Viggiano, as rain and strong winds all over stage five make final bump harder – stays 1’09” behind pink jersey Matthews (OGE) after another great Movistar Team support
Diego Ulissi (LAM) gave the local fans their first joy of the Giro d’Italia on stage five, 203km from Taranto to Viggiano, after winning a selected sprint where the main favourites had to show up by themselves to protect their chances. Strong head winds all day and rain over some sections of the course, including a final circuit with two Cat-4 climbs and a technical descent in between, forced the Movistar Team to show their full strength so Nairo Quintana could reach a difficult finish for him in the best possible condition.
Amador, Ventoso and an excellent Adriano Malori, who reached the foot of the first climb together with the Colombian, left Nairo fresh for the ascents as he counted on additional support from José Herrada and, ultimately, Gorka Izagirre. Jonathan Castroviejo, also up-front for the finale, was left behind as a crash split the group. An attack by Brambilla (OPQ) into the downhill was reeled back in by Katusha, who drove the pace and even created a gap for their leader Rodríguez, Arredondo (TFR) and Boasson Hagen (SKY), all of them caught by the other favourites under the flamme rouge.
Nairo stood the enormous speed on the way to the finish and crossed the line in 10th place, keeping gaps in the GC -1’09” behind Matthews, 54″ from Evans (BMC) due to time bonuses- and jumping towards 14th. Today’s effort might pay off on another uphill finish tomorrow in Montecassino (Cat-2), end of a marathon 257km -the longest in this year’s race, after floods forced to a last-minute change- which will otherwise be soft until the 8.5km -5% average, with slopes up to 9%- of decisive climbing.
REACTION | Andrey Amador: “I got caught by the crash before the first climb, and even though we made an extra effort to make it back to the group, the pace was so high it was impossible. It was awful I couldn’t stay with Nairo until the end, but he had some other team-mates and it was better to save as much energy as possible for what’s to come in this race. We didn’t stay away from rain either today, and that’s making the race header and the days taking costly energy. We’re happy with what we’re doing, still – we got over days that we really feared, where we could lose everything. This team always showed in Grand Tours to be better day by day, and that’s what we’re expecting in this Giro, too.
Personally, I feel well and with my sights set clearly on what we came for in this Giro: helping Nairo out, 100%. We’re doing that work you often don’t see: taking the wind out for him, settimg him into good position… It’s being a very nervous race, because all 200 riders want to stay at the front: the sprinters, to fight for the stage; those up in the standings, to fight for the ‘maglia rosa’; the favourites, not to lose time… Before two or three more stages and a real selection are not seen, this won’t get any calmer.”