Giro d'Italia (st. 7) / Bayern-Rundfahrt (st. 3)
Spanish sprinter from Movistar Team takes 2nd behind Ulissi (LAM) after big comeback, gets in the mix in Giro d'Italia after difficult start. Visconti, Amador remain within GC's top ten
It was close to the shortest of margins that Fiuggi, the Italian city where Fran Ventoso took the Movistar Team's first Grand Tour stage win with their current title sponsor, brought Juanjo Lobato his first win in a three-week stagerace. The Trebujena-based rider was 2nd behind Ulissi (LAM) in the longest stage of the 2015 'Corsa Rosa', over 264km with tough headwinds in the beginning, which caused an enormous delay on the race scheduled as the bunch took almost seven-and-a-half hours to reach the final slope.
The squad directed by Chente García Acosta and José Luis Jaimerena started showing their intentions with just over 60km from the finish, as Dayer Quintana briefly took lead in the pursuit of the early, four-man break, which gathered a massive 11-minute gap before getting caught into the first of two climbs towards the finish. The steady pace by race leader Alberto Contador's Tinkoff squad and the lack of attacks turned the finale even more chaotic, with Lobato, helped out by Ion Izagirre and Jesús Herrada, suffering into the second climb to position himself before taking on a magnificent sprint, where he soon found himself following the wheel of eventual winner Ulissi.
The final 50 meters were too much for the Andalusian, who still scored the best result for the Movistar Team so far in the 2015 Giro, which now enters the mountains with Saturday's climb to Campitello Matese. Giovanni Visconti (7th) and Andrey Amador (10th) will start day eight within a minute and a half's distance of the maglia rosa.
REACTION / Juanjo Lobato: "I'm not one of those who love to invent excuses, and even though it's true that I had spent a month without racing and it took a bit for me to get back into top form, this is a Giro d'Italia – you've got to give everything you have. Day by day I'm feeling stronger, and I could already give it a try yesterday. To be honest, the sprints in this Giro have been mental – all three finishes I have witnessed were chaotic, lacking a team that set things straight and drove the bunch at high speed to reduce danger. When you're really strong as I was yesterday and you see so many riders going crazy, you become furious – you can't simply use your full potential.
"Today I was doing already more than I could by keeping the pace into the bunch. The final 6k, always uphill, were really hard for me, and I couldn't do anything else into the sprint. I have my own sprinting distance and launch the effort from that point, but I could only do it from the position I'm in – I didn't have neither the legs nor the abilities to position myself well and start the sprint from where I'd have liked to. Still, one of the biggest goals for me in this Giro was the second week – I've got a stage written down on the roadbook and I hope to improve today's result there. I'm happy with my team – they're helping me out as much as they can and we'll give everything to seek for that chance."
Bayern-Rundfahrt: Sanz not surrendering (4th)
Day three in the 2015 Bayern-Rundfahrt brought yet another bunch sprint at the end of a rolling, 205km ride from Selb to Ebern with some 20% sections prior to the finishing circuit. Irish specialist Sam Bennett (BOA) repeated his success from the inaugural stage in Waldsassen as Enrique Sanz searched again for victory, eventually taking 4th.
As well the Spaniard as his two team-mates with biggest chances for Saurday’s TT in Hassfurt (26km), local Jasha Sütterlin and Briton Alex Dowsett -who scored a two-second bonus into the today’s first intermediate sprint- will start the Bavarian race’s showdown into the last 15 of the start list.