Rogers Takes Second Stage Win of Giro d'Italia
Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) has won his and his team’s second stage win of the 2014 Giro d’Italia. The Australian soloed away from Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF) in the last three km to win the 167-km ride from Maniago to Monte Zoncolan in 4:41:55. Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela) finished second at 0:38, and Bongiorno took third at 0:49. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remains the maglia rosa and is poised to win the race when it ends in Trieste tomorrow.
Shortly after the start, 19 riders sallied off of the front. They were Axel Domont (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Franco Pellizotti and Jackson Rodriguez (both from Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Bongiorno, Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin-Linksys), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Belisol), Yonathan Monsalve and Matteo Rabottini (both from Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Simon Geschke and Georg Preidler (both from Giant-Shimano), Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Maxime Belkov (Katusha), Dario Cataldo (Team Sky Pro Cycling), Rogers and Nicolas Roche (both from Tinkoff-Saxo Bank), and Danilo Hondo and Riccardo Zoidl (both from Trek). Eventually, Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) joined the move. The peloton kept the break on a short leash, and with 90 km remaining, Robinson Chalapud (Colombia) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) bridged up to the move.
On the descent of the day’s first climb, the Passo del Pura, Rogers had a mechanical. He threw his bicycle to the ground and waved frantically, but he got a new bike and eventually rejoined the break.
On the Category 2 Sella Razzo, attrition took its toll, but the break members who remained extended their lead over the peloton. Behind, Europcar went to the front of the maglia rosa group to set up an attack by Pierre Rolland, who had designs on Fabio Aru’s (Astana) third place. When the Frenchman made his move, Quintana and Aru took his wheel.
At the base of the Category 1 climb to the finish. the break led the maglia rosa by eight minutes and would obviously provide the stage winner. Wellens led the escapees for a time, but then he fell back, as did Geschke and Preidler. With six km remaining, Rogers took over at the front and fought his way through fans. Pellizotti and Bongiorno joined him, but Pellizotti dropped back one km later.
With 3.7 km left, Bongiorno attacked and Rogers followed. About a km later, a fan attempted to give Bongiorno a push. The Italian lost his balance and had to take his foot out of his cleat to avoid falling. The mishap created a large gap between the two leaders. Rogers powered away from the Bardiani-CSF Inox man to take the win.
Behind, Igor Anton (Movistar) paced the maglia rosa group for team captain Quintana. Eventually, Wout Poels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) went to the front on behalf of overall runner-up Rigoberto Uran. Fans were overzealous, and Poels ripped the sunglasses off of one fan’s face and tossed them away. A fan carrying the Colombian flag nearly knocked Quintana down. The Movistar man forged ahead and made a few tentative moves before crossing the finish line just ahead of Uran.
Rogers was overwhelmed by his victory on one of the Giro’s iconic climbs. “Every win is beautiful,” he said, “but today, with the climb of the Zoncolan, the stage enters the history of cycling and of the Giro d’Italia. These are the climbs--the Stelvio, the Gavia, the Zoncolan--the famous ones. I think every cyclist dreams of winning on these climbs.” Rogers added that Roche’s work in the break made his victory possible.
In the overall, Quintana leads Uran by 3:07 and Aru by 4:04. One stage remains, and its outcome will give sprinters one last chance to shine, and it will also decide the points competition. The 172-km run from Gemona del Friuli to Trieste will be flat and will end with eight circuits of the Piazza Unita d’Italia and a bunch sprint. Who will take it and the red jersey? Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) or Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!