Igor Anton Wins Dramatic Stage 14 of 2011 Giro d'Italia and Alberto Contador Extends Overall Giro Lead

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05/21/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Alberto Contador suffers on his way up the notorious Monte Zoncolan climb ahead of Vincenzo Nibali. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Alberto Contador suffers on his way up the notorious Monte Zoncolan climb ahead of Vincenzo Nibali. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Igor Anton Wins Dramatic Stage 14 of 2011 Giro d'Italia and Alberto Contador Extends Overall Giro Lead

Team Euskaltel's Igor Anton of Spain broke away with 5 kilometers left and held on to win the 14th stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia on Saturday, while Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Sungard) was second to extend his overall lead.

Team Euskaltel's Igor Anton of Spain broke away with 5 kilometers left and held on to win the 14th stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia on Saturday, while Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Sungard) was second to extend his overall lead.

Anton finished the 178-kilometer (130-mile) stage from Lienz to Monte Zoncolan in 5 hours, 4 minutes, 26 seconds.

Contador was 33 seconds behind to finish runner-up for the second day in a row. He managed to shake off his closest rival Vincenzo Nibali of Team Liquigas-Cannondale, who couldn't stay with the Spanish race favorite on the last sections of the final climb and finished another 7 seconds behind.

"I am very, very tired," Contador said after today's stage and continued "It was a tough day and I was just thinking about the general classification. It was important to extend my lead, even by a few seconds and I have to keep trying to do that ahead of the final day in Milan."

Contador has an overall time of 54:45:45 and is 03:20 ahead of Nibali, his nearest rival.

"It was a tough day," Nibali commented and added "I did well and my teammates did well to keep me involved till the end. The first part was fairly normal. In the second I was just trying to stay with Michele Scarponi and thankfully I was able to catch him."

Safety concerns have dominated the Giro d'Italia after Leopard-Trek cyclist Wouter Weylandt died during the third stage of the race after crashing during a descent after clipping a wall.

A section on Monte Crostis for Saturday's stage was cut when team managers raised concerns about race management on the section, including team cars being unable to follow the riders at that point.

Organizers had promised to bring in extra protection and install mattresses and extra safety netting after riders raised concerns over an unmade section on the descent, but governing body UCI disappointingly decided to remove the section from the stage in spite of all safety measures being in place. What would have made today's stage truly epic had to be removed, resulting in stage 14 being just another hard mountain stage on the endless list of historic hard mountain stages in Grand Tours.

"I didn't understand it myself," course director Mauro Vegni said. "Until yesterday it was a question of security and we put guarantees in place. Everyone could see the work we did on Crostis and we thought everything was resolved.

"Then it became about sporting guarantees. I thought they were all in place because we spoke about them last October, at the Milano-San Remo and before the start of the Giro."

Gianluca Brambilla, Bram Tankink and Matteo Rabottini led the breakaway group for the majority of the stage, but Anton caught them after breaking from the chasing pack, while Scarponi and Contador worked together to keep him in their sights.

With 4.2 kilometers to go, Nibali caught Contador and Scarponi and increased the pace. Contador stayed with the Italian, but Scarponi was unable to keep up and dropped behind.

Anton managed

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