Alberto Contador solidified his lead in the 2011 Giro d’Italia Tuesday, after dancing to a 34-second win over Vincenzo Nibali in the stage 16 uphill time trial.
It was the second stage win of this race by Contador (Saxo Bank), but his stage win count does not indicate his dominance — he now leads second placed Michele Scarponi by nearly five minutes on the GC.
Contador won the 12.7km test in 28:55, while Nibali had the satisfaction of taking second place by 4 seconds ahead of Scarponi (Liquigas-Cannondale).
Nibali, who struggled in Sunday’s mammoth seven-and-a-half hour 15th stage where he dropped from second to third overall, looked determined to make amends when he set off.
The Sicilian set the fastest time at the only intermediate time check, just
over 5km into the stage, where Contador was timed in unofficial 13th place,
13 seconds behind.
However, that section was on the flat and when the gradient increased significantly Contador went into overdrive.
Italian Marco Pinotti of HTC-Highroad had been the early leader until he was overhauled by veteran former champion Stefano Garzelli.
Colombian Jose Rujano, one of the few riders able to follow Contador in the
mountains, then took provisional top spot, finishing seven seconds quicker
Nibali then knocked six seconds off Rujano’s effort, and when Scarponi couldn’t match his time the chances of any kind of upset evaporated.
Preferring to spin his way to the finish line rather than risk losing power by using bigger gears, Contador had clearly taken the right approach as he
motored his way to the finish line to smash Nibali’s mark by 34 seconds.
The 17th stage on Wednesday is a 230km slog across the Alps from Feltre to Tirano, but with two medium-sized climbs near the end and a relatively flat finish it is likely to favor a breakaway or a small bunch sprint.
- 1. Alberto Contador Velasco, Saxo Bank Sungard, at 28:55
- 2. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas-Cannondale, at 34
- 3. Michele Scarponi, Lampre – Isd, at 38
- 4. José Rujano Guillen, Androni Giocattoli – C.i.p.i, at 39
- 5. Stefano Garzelli, Acqua & Sapone, at 46
- 1. Alberto Contador Velasco, Saxo Bank Sungard, at 62:43:37
- 2. Michele Scarponi, Lampre – Isd, at 4:58
- 3. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas-Cannondale, at 5:45
- 4. John Gadret, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 7:35
- 5. José Rujano Guillen, Androni Giocattoli – C.i.p.i, at 9:18