Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Giro d'Italia, Stage 16

Stage 16, Tuesday, May 24, 2011, BELLUNO-NEVEGAL, individual time trial of 12.7 km. Belluno:

The stage was preceded by a minute's silence in memory of Xavier Tondo Volpini, the Spanish Movistar Team rider who died at home yesterday in a freak accident involving his garage door.

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank - Sungard) won the 16th of the 94th Giro d’Italia. Contador completed the uphill time-trial from Belluno to Nevegal in 28’55” at the average speed of 26,351 km/h. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas – Cannondale) was second in 29’29” and Michele Scarponi (Lampre – ISD) third in 29’33”.

Faustino Muñoz, Contador's mechanic on Saxo Bank, was expelled from the race today. The Spaniard, already furious at the end of the Zoncolan stage with the fans along the climb for insulting and spitting on Contador, opened the car door on purpose to hit a spectator.

For this uphill TT Scarponi rode his Wilier Superleggera with a medium profile front wheel and a high profile rear wheel; gearing 50-36 with 11-27.

Top 10 GC after stage:
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 62:43:37
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:04:58
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:05:45
4 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:35
5 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:09:18
6 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:09:22
7 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:09:38
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:09:47
9 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:10:25
10 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:10:58

Classification leaders:
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) is the Maglia Rosa Estathé, 4’58” ahead of Michele Scarponi (Lampre – ISD).
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) is the Maglia Rosso Passione Gruppo Saint-Gobain.
Roman Kreuziger (Pro Team Astana) is the Maglia Bianca Adecco.
Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) is the Maglia Verde Banca Mediolanum.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Once again Contador proved he is the strongest rider in the Giro, this time winning the TT by 34 seconds over Nibali and 38 seconds over Scarponi. It appears Contador has an insurmountable lead.

Nevertheless, the race for 2nd is an especially important one this year. At the moment only 47 seconds separate Scarponi (2nd) and Nibali (3rd). The elephant in the Giro is the "Contador Problem".

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing will take place in June in Lausanne, a decision will be reached before the start of the Tour de France. If the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides in favor of the UCI, and if Contador receives a one year ban, all the victories back to July 21, 2010 would be stripped, including the 2010 Tour de France and this Giro d'Italia.

Stage 17, Feltre-Tirano, 230 km, is rated "Alta Montagna". Perhaps Nibali, with his excellent descending skills, will attack on the long Passo del Tonale descent.

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