Etna climb spectacular, GC riders all squared
Etna, 9th May 2017 – After a off day our team is ready to attack Etna volcano. It was a windy and sunny day with 181km to tackle. Stage was flat in the beginning, which was inviting for a break to form. 4 riders held the biggest margin so far in this Giro with over 9 minutes. At kilometer 55 long climb to Portella Femmina Morta saw peloton cut the lead to 6 minutes, but no attacks were thrown on that climb. At the bottom of the Etna, Jan Polanc was only survivor from the original break, and during that climb many riders attacked the group, including Nibali, which all GC contenders followed. At the end Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) made it from the break and won the race, with Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha Alpecin) going for late break just 2km to go and came in second.
Vincenzo Nibali came in 10th in the time of 3rd Geraint Thomas. In general Clasification Vincenzo Nibali is 4th with 10 seconds behind the leader Bob Jungels.
“We expected GC contenders to look at each other, and try not to loose anything, so we saw a sprint of 15-20 riders on top of the Etna, climb was hard at the bottom, while later steep parts were really short, on the top it was windy, so it was hard to gain some time. Of course when Vincenzo tried everyone followed him, while when Zakarin tried nobody followed him. This is not that Zacharin is stronger then the others, this is just a game GC contenders play every grand tour, and it happened today. We tried to do high pace with Siutsou, to prepare the terrain for Vincenzo to attack, we hoped for less wind on the top, we tried with attack, and unless you try you’ll never know. We are happy what we did and we’ll keep racing this way.” – our Sports Director Gorazd Stengelj was satisfied. After asked if he was happy with the team performance, he said: “ Actually, today we took responsibility on the breakaway as nobody wanted to pull to catch the breakaway, the most of the stage was back wind, therefore breakaway had all ingredients to make it, so overall I’m happy with the work team put.”
“Today during the climb I’ve seen the faces of contenders and Vincenzo looked good and felt well. We finished in high altitude (2000m) and it didn’t help that we had rest day yesterday, legs were little rusty.” – Kanstantsin Siutsou said while cooling down on turbo booster.