Team Astana Dominates Giro d'Italia Time Trial
Italian rider Marzio Bruseghin, along with rainy conditions, kept the Astana cycling team from victory in the 10th stage of the 2008 Giro d’Italia, a 39.4 Kilometer individual time trial which started in Pesaro and ended in Urbino. Alberto Contador finished second while teammate Andreas Klöden came in third. The rest of Astana placed well and had a strong race: Levi Leipheimer (9th), Vladimir Gusev (17th) and Andrej Mizurov (26th). The Kazakh-based team showed that even with less-than-ideal preparations, they can play an important role in the Giro d’Italia - and would be able to do the same in the 2008 Tour de France.
After the first key stage, Alberto Contador is now first of the race's main classification contenders at 6'59" back, Andreas Klöden 55" further back, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) 1'04", Paolo Savoldelli (LPR Brakes) 1.10, Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) 1'33", Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 1'58", with Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) and Levi Leipheimer 2’11”.
“I tried to win the stage. That was my first objective,” commented Alberto Contador (2nd at 8”). “Believe me, without the rain, I would have been the winner. I didn’t dare to take risks in the end. The last 500 meters on the cobblestones were very slippery as well. Anyway, afterwards I am happy with the time I gained today. My elbow? In the beginning it bothered me a bit, but the further we went in the stage, the better I felt. My second part of the time trial was indeed much better: the elbow, the legs and the performance. I do not want to make provisions for the future. I feel better and better but I have no idea what I can do in the big mountain stages. I have to repeat: we will see day after day.”
Andreas Klöden (3rd at 20”) had the fastest time after 32.2 kilometers of the race. “I felt tired at the end, but I cannot complain. To be beaten by only Bruseghin and Contador is no disgrace.”
Andreas Klöden regrets being misunderstood in an interview made by an Italian newspaper, and published today. He emphasizes that he never mentioned the name of a team where health controls would be less severe. “I said that – in contrast to many smaller teams – Astana, High Road, Slipstream and CSC have a very tight internal doping control system.”
Concerning participation in the 2008 Olympics, Andreas Klöden told Roadcycling.com that he really wants to go to Beijing for the road race and time trial. “For the moment I am the best German time trialist. Of course I want to represent my country. It is not because cycling is not so popular any more in Germany, that I am not proud to defend the colours of my country. If I am selected, I will go of course. I told the journalist that, until now, the German federation never contacted me about the Olympics 2008.”