ALTOPIANO DEL MONTASIO , Italy (AFP) –
Olympic silver medallist Rigoberto Uran soloed to victory in the hilly 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, as his Sky team leader and race favourite Bradley Wiggins lost more time to race leader Vincenzo Nibali.
Uran attacked on his own before the final 4.4km climb to the summit finish of Altopiano del Montasio in what appeared to be a tactic designed to put the pressure on Nibali’s Astana team.
However, Nibali and fellow victory contender Cadel Evans of Australia ultimately responded in positive fashion, upping the pace in the final few kilometres to leave Wiggins, the Tour de France champion, trailing by over 30secs.
Neither won the stage but Nibali and Evans came over the finish line of the 167km race, which began in Cordenons in the extreme northeast of Italy, 31secs behind Colombian Uran. Wiggins arrived 37sec later, meaning the Englishman is now fourth overall at 2min 05sec behind Nibali.
Evans, the 2011 Tour de France champion, is second overall only 41secs behind Nibali and must now be considered the Italian’s only real rival in a race which, given Wiggins’ performances in the past week, seems out of reach for the 2012 Tour de France champion.
Nibali said afterwards: “Sky tried to isolate me to attack me…. but I managed to gain a few important seconds on Scarponi and the others.”
“It was a difficult stage coming off a rest day but for me it went off well. I was expecting Uran to attack. I saw Wiggins behind but I was more afraid of Scarponi in this stage.”
Uran, meanwhile, claimed afterwards he had planned to cap a strong ride by the team with his first stage win from a Grand Tour.
“I’m very happy to have taken the win today. It is the first win for me in a Grand Tour and it is very satisfying after getting so close before. It nice to finally be able to finish off a victory,” said the Colombian.
“It is doubly special as it came after such a strong ride from the team. It was always the plan for me to attack on the climb and things went to plan. The team rode incredibly all day.
“The result has meant I have jumped up a few positions on the general classification so now I am one second in front of Brad. That is a good position to be in for me and for the team to have two riders there.”
Despite losing out to Nibali for the bonus seconds on offer for third, Evans said he was pleased to hold on to second place overall after the race’s first major mountain stage.
“It’s probably not going to be a big deal at the end, but I would rather not concede time,” he said. “To maintain my position at this point is still very good. So far, so good. We still have a lot of mountain stages to go.”
Although aware of Wiggins losing time, the Australian said the only rider he was focusing on was Nibali.
“I don’t know what was going on behind, of course, but Nibali is the rider I have to focus on at this point considering my place in classification.”Published 15 May 2013, 01:01 IST