Simon Gerrans Wins Stage 14 of 2009 Giro d'Italia
Simon Gerrans (Cervelo TestTeam) had his first Giro d'Italia stage win today at the top of the San Luca climb in Bologna. Gerrans and his teammate Philip Deignan were part of a breakaway that took off from the peloton only 12km into the stage, and in the final kilometer, Gerrans rode away from the remaining survivors of the break for an uncontested victory. Teammate Carlos Sastre also had a very good stage, finishing only a 1:04 behind Gerrans with some of the other GC contenders, including Di Luca (LPR Brakes), Pellizotti (Team Liquigas), and Menchov (Rabobank), who retains the maglia rosa.
"The breakaway worked really well today," Simon Gerrans commented after the stage and added that "I was with Philip inside it, and on the second last climb he attacked for me and did great work. On the last climb, I then went away and was able to reach the finish with a 12 second lead. Obviously, I am very happy today. Philip did a great job for me."
"The fourteenth stage of this Giro d'Italia held a very nice surprise for the whole team. It's something that we needed after struggling so hard for fourteen days and trying to get everything right so that we would reach the finish with enough strength to stand a fighting chance in the race," said Carlos Sastre.
"Simon Gerrans' win was very important to all of us, but Philip Deignan also did a great job, as they were the two riders in the Cervélo team who were ahead when the group of 14 riders broke away. After that, the rest of the team were protecting me from behind and keeping me towards the front to avoid a mishap and ensure that we were safe."
"We raced the last few kilometres and the final straight at a really furious pace to make sure we would enter that uphill stretch at San Luca among the top positions. The team worked flat out to make sure I was there and I managed to finish in a good position. This means that I'm up there among the leaders and haven't lost any time in the general classification."
"It was fantastic," said Jean Paul van Poppel. "Like we said in the start of the Giro, we came here for the GC with Carlos Sastre, but if we could get a stage win as a bonus, we shouldn't let it slip away. So today it happened. We have three hard days in a row - a long marathon. We want to light a fire under the guys and put some pressure on the teams to work hard. So the race is getting a bit tougher and the teams have to work hard, and hopefully we can get some profit from this in the coming days.
"That was the tactic today - to go hard and make the race. It's actually the first day we've done this and right away we had the breakaway with Simon, then they came back and then the next breakaway Simon was there again. A chase to bridged over with Philip Deignan in, so we had the breakaway with 14 riders and 2 riders were from Cervélo TestTeam. They went hard and tried to put some pressure on the other teams. We knew that both riders could do well on the finish line and well, they did. We let the LPR team work hard - Di Luca's team went super hard the whole day, and after the last hill I thought that they could close the gap with just 1:35 left, but they were completely done. The breakaway gained more time, and they managed to get to the finish line with a super win for Simon Gerrans. It looked a bit like last year, the uphill finish in the Tour de France where he won a stage. We were hoping for this and it really happened, so I am very happy.
"On the other side, Carlos was great. Our main focus is still on him and we see that Basso let a few seconds slip away today, as did Leipheimer. All good. Maybe tomorrow we will make it harder again, and maybe it will be Carlos Sastre's day."