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Giro d’Italia stage 11: Gadret times his finish to perfection

Stage 11: Tortoreto Lido to Castelfidardo, 142km

AG2R La Mondiale‘s John Gadret broke out of the pack in the final 400 metres to overhaul lone breakaway survivor Daniel Moreno (Katusha) to take stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia. It was by far the biggest win of his career on a difficult, undulating day during which Christophe Le Mevel was unable to make a break stick as he attempted to claim the maglia rosa from Alberto Contador.

Before racing commenced, the riders observed a minute’s silence for fallen comrade Wouter Weylandt, whose funeral took place today.

The 142km stage from Tortoreto Lido to Castelfidardo was relatively short but featured four short, sharp categorised climbs and a ceaseless succession of hills along its entire route, making it ideal for breakaways. Conscious of this threat, a number of early escape attempts were pulled back in, and it was not until around 64km into the stage that a group of eleven – surprisingly including Le Mevel, fourth overnight and just 1:19 behind – was allowed to go. However, they were never allowed to build up a big advantage as the peloton, led by Contador’s Saxo Bank Sungard team, kept them on a tight rein and maintained the gap at around the two-minute mark.

Le Mevel tried to take the maglia rosa, but his breakaway attempt failed and he dropped from third to fourth (image courtesy of Graham Watson)

In the final 40km, other teams with an eye on the stage win came to the fore, driving the peloton along and whittling away at the gap as the breakaway started to disintegrate. Eventually only two riders – Moreno and Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar) were left at the front, with the rest of the group gradually being sucked back into the peloton.

Gadret won his first Grand Tour stage

In the closing five kilometres Lampre-ISD came to the front to close down the leaders, with their GC contender Michele Scarponi being closely shadowed by main rivals Contador, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Roman Kreuziger (Astana). With two kilometres remaining, the deficit was still 37 seconds, but a solo attack by Colnago-CSF Inox‘s Stefano Pirazzi dragged the maglia rosa group rapidly across the gap so that by the 1km flag the gap was down to a slender ten seconds.

On the steep run up to the finish which boasted a maximum gradient of 10%, Moreno launched himself around Konovalovas with 700 metres to go and attempted to strike for home. But Gadret had other ideas, surprising everyone by flying off the front of the peloton in the final 400 metres, speeding past the Spaniard and crossing the finish line alone with arms aloft.

The crushed Moreno was swamped by the leading riders within sight of the line – eventually finishing down in 21st – as Joaquim Rodríguez, many people’s favourite for the win here, and Giovanni Visconti led the charge for the minor placings. Contador was fifth, and maintained his 59-second overall lead. Le Mevel finished 13 seconds down and dropped from third to fourth overall, the only change in the top ten.

Gadret dedicated his win to Weylandt:

I want to dedicate this victory to Weylandt. I was thinking all day about his funeral. Even though I’m not Belgian I wanted to win for him. Cycling is a big family, since he died I haven’t stopped thinking about his fall. I wanted to do something to pay homage to him and I’m happy.

A disappointed Le Mevel accepted that his one chance to wear the pink jersey had now passed:

Today I attacked to try to win the pink jersey. I knew this was my last chance to try to get it. Tomorrow is a sprint stage and then we’re in the big mountains where Contador and Nibali will be winning the jersey.

I’ve been close, so close. I’ve been trying every day. I really want this pink jersey but this pink jersey does not want me.

Stage 12 covers 184km from Castelfidardo to Ravenna. There are three speed-bump climbs to be ridden over in the first half of the day, and it is then pancake-flat all the way to the finish. It is the last opportunity of this year’s race for the sprinters, so the inevitable breakaway’s chances of success should be precisely zero.

Stage 12 profile

Stage 11 result:

1. John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) 3:33:11

2. Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) same time

3. Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) s/t

4. José Serpa (Androni Giocattoli) s/t

5. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) s/t

General classification:

1. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) 40:37:51

2. Kanstantsin Sivtsov (HTC-Highroad) +0:59

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) +1:21

4. Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervélo) +1:28

5. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) +1:28

6. David Arroyo (Movistar) +1:37

7. Roman Kreuziger (Astana) +1:41

8. José Serpa (Androni Giocattoli) +1:47

9. Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) +2:21

10 Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil-DCM) +2:21

Points classification:

1. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) 80 pts

2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) 77

3. Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervélo) 59

4. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) 56

5. Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli) 56

Mountains classification:

1. Filippo Savini (Colnago-CSF Inox) 16 pts

2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) 15

3. Bart De Clercq (Omega Pharma-Lotto) 11

4. Martin Kohler (BMC) 10

5. Federico Canuti (Colnago-CSF Inox) 9

Links: Giro d’Italia official websiteSteephill.tv

Giro d’Italia recaps

Stage 1: Pinotti swaps red, white and green for pink

Stage 2: Petacchi celebrates, Cavendish remonstrates in ham-fisted Parma finish

Stage 3: Weylandt’s death casts a long shadow

Stage 4: Peloton rides in tribute to Weylandt

Stage 5: Weening takes maglia rosa as Millar bites the dust

Stage 6: Ale-Jet runs out of gas as Ventoso wins uphill drag

Stage 7: De Clercq claims first professional win by a whisker

Stage 8: Gatto gets the cream as Contador shows his claws

Stage 9: Explosive Contador erupts on Etna

Stage 10: No tow required as Cavendish opens Giro account

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

12 Responses to Giro d’Italia stage 11: Gadret times his finish to perfection

  1. Sheree says:

    I was so willing Christophe into the maglia rosa but had to leave home before today’s stage finished. I blame myself, if only I could have stayed!

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