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Cadel Evans pulls no punches

On what looked like being a routine break-chase-sprint stage at the Giro yesterday, Alexandre Vinokourov managed to chip ten seconds from Richie Porte’s sizeable lead, while Cadel Evans was left to slug it out – literally – in the main pack.

The fun kicked off less than 15km from the finish in Porto Recanati when a small group including Vinokourov and fellow contenders Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso successfully broke away from the front of the peloton. Although the sprinters’ teams never quite managed to reel them back in, maglia rosa Porte will have been happy that the time loss to Vino et al was limited to a mere ten seconds – barely a flesh wound given his near-ten minute advantage over the Astana team leader.

Filippo Pozzato was first across the line, winning his Katusha team their second stage in a row and registering the first win by an Italian rider this year at their home tour.

Evans shows some fight

Cadel Evans is a frustrating rider. Hugely talented, yes, but not one who ever sets pulses racing with aggressive attacks. Yesterday he missed the boat in terms of the breakaway, but nonetheless saw some action of his own when aerial camera pictures clearly showed him trading punches with Daniele Righi less than 5km from the finish.

Evans was working hard towards the front of the peloton – once again conspicuous by the absence of any BMC teammates riding to support their leader – when Righi, whose Lampre teammate Damiano Cunego was in the break, attempted to disrupt the chase. There is nothing unusual in this practice, but Evans accused Righi of touching his brakes, a dangerous thing to do at the front of a pack flying along at speeds close to 60kph.

Evans was apoplectic after the stage, saying:

“Righi made a mistake; he’s dangerous. He went to the front and braked. You don’t do that.”

Righi, unsurprisingly, denied braking or any other form of wrongdoing.

“What was the issue? I was working for my team. He [Evans] did not like it, he put his hands on me and I defended myself. He did not talk. He put his hands on me and pulled me back.”

Both riders were eventually fined 2,000 Swiss francs by the race commissaires.

Evans, at least, was in more reflective mood later, posting the following on his personal website:

“Looked to be a sprint until some of the GC favourites attacked on the last little climb of the day. My fault for not being there, I didn’t position myself very well. I was relying on Sky and Garmin to chase a bit more. Hence me getting frustrated with those who were purposely slowing down the chase, not the done thing in professional cycling. I let it be known to them, much to everyone’s entertainment – sorry about that – not bad for a boring rider who never attacks, hey?”

The net result of yesterday’s stage was that no one managed to land more than the slightest of glancing blows – on either fellow riders or the clock. Porte’s lead over second-placed David Arroyo is unchanged, and of the big contenders Vinokourov remains a healthy 9:48 behind.

Seconds out, round two. Let’s hope stage 13 today doesn’t result in someone being on the receiving end of an unlucky knockout blow …

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About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

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