Weening Wins Stage 5 of Giro d'Italia 2011, Takes Maglia Rosa
Pieter Weening (Rabobank) has won Stage 5 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
Pieter Weening (Rabobank) has won Stage 5 of the 2011 Giro. The Dutchman soloed away from the field in the last 12 km to win the hilly, 191-km ride from Piombino to Orvieto in 4:54:49. Fabio Duarte (Geox) outsprinted Jose Serpa (Androni Giocattoli) for second at 0:08. Weening is the new maglia rosa.
A number of riders made unsuccessful escape attempts before Martin Kohler (BMC Racing) got away at 12 km. The peloton let him go, and the Swiss rider led by 4:50 at 16 km. His advantage ballooned to 12:50 by 51 km.
The peloton woke up and began to chase. At 80 km, Kohler led by nine minutes. With 40 km remaining, the BMC Racing man led by 5:45.
At this point, Kohler reached the first of three sections of gravel and dirt known as the strade blanche. Liquigas took command at the front and upped the pace. The Italian squad's pacemaking split the field, and the heads of state made it to the lead group. With 26 km left, Kohler's lead was down to 3:26.
Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) and Bram Tankink (Rabobank) set out after Kohler. With 24 km left, the lead group trailed these two riders by 0:40. Cataldo, however, crashed, and Tankink had a mechanical problem. With 20 km left, the lead group trailed Kohler by 1:30.
John Gadret (Ag2r) and Weening attacked from the lead group. With 10 km remaining, they caught Kohler. One km later, the Rabobank man attacked and dropped his companions. He forged a 10-second lead on Gadret and Kohler as the lead group closed in.
With two km left, the lead chase group caught Gadret and Kohler. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) attacked but was reeled in. With one km left, David Arroyo (Movistar) had an unsuccessful go. Weening held on to win.
Weening said that attacking on the strade blanche was his key to victory. "I knew already before that the best defence was attack," he said. "If you are a little bit at the back there is a lot of dust and you don't see the road perfectly."
When asked to comment on his solo breakaway in today's stage 5 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia Kohler told Roadcycling.com and our mobile sister site Roadcycling.mobi "To take my first mountain jersey of my career in such a big race is unbelievable. It was a long day for me. I wasn't happy that I was alone. The climbs on the gravel roads were really steep and it wasn't possible to stand up because my back wheel kept slipping. So I lost a lot of time there."
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard), Giro d'Italia favorite for the overall victory, told Roadcycling.com "It was quite a dangerous course today. Nibali attacked on the first dirt track section but was on the descent and I did not want to take any risks there. We have caught him anyway and I felt strong throughout the course. On the last climb, I simply focused on not losing a second. I had everything more or less under control."