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Contador powers back into Giro lead in stage 14 ITT won by Kiryienka

Richie Porte falters in Giro time trial but teammate Vasil Kiryienka earns stage win, while Alberto Contador retakes pink from Fabio Aru

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A mark of 1:17:52 on the 59.4km time trial course was enough to give Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) a victory on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia. The 33-year-old Belarusian started midway through the afternoon and set a time that stood its ground against the challenges of the other time trial specialists and the GC contenders that followed. Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez came closest to unseating him, claiming runner-up honors for the stage with a time 12 seconds slower than Kiryienka’s.

Sanchez’s Astana teammate Fabio Aru, wearing the pink jersey to start the day’s racing, did his best to limit his losses to his rivals, but 2008 Giro d’Italia winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) put in a very strong ride, taking third on the stage. His performance allowed him to claw back 2:47 on Aru, earning him the right to retake the pink jersey after loaning it out for a day.

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The road from Treviso to Valdobbiadene was a wet one, and the riders spent the day pedaling through ever-changing weather conditions. A shift in wind direction worked against the later starters, and that, coupled with a knee injury he suffered in a crash on stage 13, may have contributed to a poor outing from Kiryienka’s Sky teammate Richie Porte, who finished 55th on the stage, and lost 4:06 to Contador. Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick-Step), who crashed earlier in the race as well, was also unable to put in the sort of ride expected of him, setting a mark 2:31 slower than Contador’s. With his rivals faltering on the day, Contador now holds the general classification lead in the Giro d’Italia by 2:28 over second-placed Aru. Andrey Amador (Movistar) put in a strong enough time to climb to third on the GC leaderboard, with Urán sitting behind him in fourth overall.

“It just seemed like one of those days where it was raining and it wasn’t going to go well, but I was lucky in the end. Of course, we’re not very lucky in this Giro with Richie [Porte],” stage winner Kiryienka said.

“It seems it’s a bit difficult for the overall now but in the next few days we’ll all be there and we’re going to try to fight for wins.”

Contador was surprised how much time he was able to put into his rivals. “I knew I could make a difference today, but I didn’t expect the time gaps to be so large,” he said.

“I’d like to thank the crowd, they’ve been fantastic, especially as it will likely be my final Giro d’Italia.”

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Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 14 / Tappa 14 highlights by giroditalia