Giro d'Italia (st. 18)
Andalusian sprinter from Movistar Team suffers distal fracture in his left collarbone after falling into approach of Monte Ologno climb. Amador remains in 4th overall as Blues work hard for their leader
The first of three stages set to decide the 2015 Giro d'Italia -170km from Melide to Verbania, with the Monte Ologno (Cat-1) located just 35 kilometers from the end and including some uphill slopes on its long descent- brought good feelings and a bad blow to the Movistar Team all at once. Heading into the climb and after an incident involving some of the SKY team riders as well as Mikel Landa (AST), Juanjo Lobato crashed while riding at the back of the group where some of his team-mates were supporting Andrey Amador.
"The bunch had already split into several groups after the first crash, and he wasn't riding under stress nor pushing for Andrey at the front, but we think he touched another rider's wheel and that made him crash," explained Chente García Acosta just after the stage on Lobato's incident. The Andalusian was quickly moved to a medical center, where initial exams revealed a distal fracture in his left arm's collarbone, added to bruises in his shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle visible right after the crash. Convenience on surgery to his shoulder and recovery times will be confirmed in due time.
Visconti, Fernández support Andrey through Ologno
At the front of the group, the Movistar Team riders offered their best show of commitment to Amador since the Costa Rican got into the GC fight in this year's Giro. Rubén Fernández's labour, before and during the climb, in pursuit of an attack by Contador (TCS) was continued by an outstanding Giovanni Visconti, who tried to be on the early break -including stage winner Gilbert (BMC), whom both the Italian and Jesús Herrada attempted to join, without success- and later managed his energy well pushing into the group to make Fabio Aru suffer. The Astana rider dropped back for a few kilometers before getting back into the pursuit group just before the summit of Ologno.
All GC contenders but Contador y Hesjedal (TCG), 1'13" ahead of Amador's group, got back together as the Costa Rican remains in 4th overall before Friday's grueling ride on stage 19. Cervinia (Cat-1), summit of Andrey's only GT stage win in 2012, will take a 236km trek to an end after the ascents of Croce Serra (Cat-3), Saint-Barthélemy (Cat-1) and Saint-Pantaléon (Cat-1).
"Our hopes remain intact to climb onto the podium," said Amador. "Contador's pace was impossible to follow – we tried to follow our own pace, which we thought was the most intelligent thing to do, and I think the result was good. We tried it today, especially with help from Rubén and Visconti, who did really well. There's still these two demanding stages left, but I'm optimistic – I still think I can take third place, and we will work hard, attack and suffer to get there."