Giro d'Italia (st. 5)
Visconti -held up by late crash-, Amador into top-10 overall in Giro d'Italia, lead Movistar Team's performance on stage five. Polanc (LAM) wins; Contador (TCS) takes pink
Whereas the spectacular, demanding stage four of the Giro to La Spezia yesterday avoided the whole Movistar Team showing their real weapons, the Blues' whole block shone back again in its entirety today into the first mountain-top finish. The Cat-2 Abetone saw Alberto Contador (TCS) seizing control of the pink jersey, as Slovenian Jan Polanc (LAM) took another early break to fruition for the day's honours.
“Neither Beñat (Intxausti) nor Ion (Izagirre) cope well with heat," explained sports director Chente García Acosta to Eurosport during the stage. “We're having the first really warm days of racing in 2015 during the Giro, and seeing how fast we rode yesterday, without chance of having proper hydration… added that Beñat doesn't like heat at all and Ion suffered some cramps and wasn't doing well before them, you can explain what happened yesterday. Still, the Giro is long and, as we saw today, we're up for the fight on every stage."
While Intxausti remains focused on fighting for stages, Izagirre (19th, +2’06”) showed back his best form in a day where three of the Movistar Team riders made it into the top 25 of the stage. Giovanni Visconti (21st, +2’15”), racing on training roads today, fought relentlessly into the last climb to follow the GC contenders after an attack by Contador into the final 5k. However, when the gap had reduced to a slender 20" after growing up to a minute, a strange incident into his group made him lose ground.
“I like the place I'm in overall and I wanted to keep it and give it a shot at the favourites, but that crash with 1.5km to go, into the first places of my group, forced me to put a foot on the ground and lose some seconds,” explained Visconti to RAI, the Italian still 7th GC, now 56" back on Contador. “It's irritating to concede time this way, into climbs that haven't often been the best for me, in such an incident when climbing, but the legs are still good. Probably, I've been one of the strongest into that pursuit group. We'll keep trying."
The day's other good news, apart from decent performances by Antón and Herrada -the latter one working for Visconti in the finale- and Dayer Quintana's recovery, was a huge result by Andrey Amador, 12th across the line today (+1'53") and now tenth overall, at 1’18” from Contador. The Costa Rican will have the chance to keep that place until Saturday, as sprinters come back for their reign tomorrow as well on Friday as tomorrow in Castiglione della Pescaia's finish (183km).