TERAMO, Italy (VN) – Mark Cavendish wasn’t about to leave the Giro d’Italia without winning at least one stage. But going into Tuesday’s short but fast 10th stage from Termoli to Teramo, time was running out. There were only two real chances left for sprinters and the pressure was on.
Cavendish survived Etna (and accusations that he took pulls from the team car) and blasted to his sixth career Giro stage win (not counting TTTs), making easy work of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) on the uphill run into Teramo.
“This was one of three of proper sprints in this Giro, so it was a big target for me,” Cavendish said. “It’s been hard for me. The team rode incredibly for me. We were the only team to ride at the front. Coming into the final, we had the whole team. It’s nice to stay at the front. We went a bit early. With 2km to go, I let go of the wheel of Renshaw. As soon as I was on Petacchi’s wheel with 1500 meters to go, I knew I was in the best position. I just had to wait for him to go and I could come around him. He went with 250 meters to go and I went with 150 meters to go. I was able to win. It was perfect.”
Cavendish was quick to compliment his team, but admitted that the Giro squad brings a mix of GC and climber options that makes it tougher for the Manxster to dominate the sprints compared to when the entire team is working for him.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s not the same team … but in terms of commitment and terms of dedication, it’s the same team. Everyone gives 100 percent for the sprints to help me win,” Cavendish said. “In terms of ability, the strength and the experience of the lead-out train, it’s not the same. We took it for granted that we won everything … with the team we used to have, I won everything.”
Contador fined 1,000 Swiss francs for not speaking to media
Race leader Alberto Contador was fined 1,000 Swiss francs ($1136) by the race jury because he did not attend a post-stage press conference.
Contador spoke with TV journalists and press at the finish line, but opted not to head to the press room some 1.5km from the finish line. Giro officials were angered and cited some language buried in the rule book to issue a fine.
Race leaders typically attend post-stage press conferences when they win the jersey for the first time or defend the jersey in an important stage, but it’s not uncommon for race leaders to skip the press conference in a sprint stage such as Tuesday’s.
Officials disagreed, however, and slapped Contador with a fine.
Officials also lifted the three-kilometer rule from Wednesday’s finish, meaning that any crashes or mechanicals will result in the real time across the line. That will make for a very nervous finish among the GC favorites.
PINK: Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) retained his lead as there were no major shakeups in the overall standings.
RED: Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) regained the pink jersey from Contador after finishing third in the stage; he now leads 80 to Contador’s 65.
GREEN: Filippo Savini (Colnago CSF-Inox) defended his climber’s jersey to Contador, with Bart De Clerq (Omega-Lotto) in third.
WHITE: Roman Kreuziger (Astana) keeps the best young rider’s jersey with no major changes.