Velonews: Astana And Aru Waving White Flag?


Jan 3, 2005
Though Astana looked to be the strongest team on stage 15 of the Giro, none of its riders, including Fabio Aru, could challenge race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). Photo: Tim De Waele |
MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (VN) — Astana appears to be doing more to secure stage wins, and second and third overall for Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa, than it is to win the Giro d’Italia.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) holds a hefty 2:35 lead over Aru. Instead of directing fire at the Spaniard on Sunday, the team in blue rode for Landa’s stage win and to distance overall riders like Andrey Amador (Movistar) and Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing).
“It’s easy to criticize afterwards from the TV or roadside,” former professional and two-time world champion, Paolo Bettini told VeloNews after the Madonna di Campiglio stage Saturday. “I don’t now, Landa’s move, was it planned or agreed on? He put in trouble the rider he had to protect.
“Even if we couldn’t understand Astana, it’s clear that Contador is the big fish in the Giro. He appeared to wait a couple of times for Aru. It seems that he’s happy with Aru in second place and that he helped him get there more than his team did.”
Up the 15.5-kilometer climb to the ski resort, Astana had the numbers with to attack Contador. Instead, Tanel Kangert, Paolo Tiralongo, Diego Rosa, and Dario Cataldo rode a hellish pace at the front with Contador riding shotgun. Landa and Aru tried to attack in the final three kilometers, but they hardly fazed Contador.
Followers could be wondering if the same pattern will be repeated in the next four mountain stages: Contador riding to secure his second Giro title and Aru to hold second place and the white jersey of best young rider.
“Astana has a well-known manager running the team, Giuseppe Martinelli,” added Bettini. “I don’t want to judge what he’s doing.”
“White flag? It’s true, I like second place and Alberto [Contador] is hard to shake,” Aru explained Monday at a press gathering.
“There are more stages coming up, Moritolo, Finestre … I’ll have my chances to try, but it’s clear, Alberto is a champion.”
“We are still trying to race for the overall win,” Landa said after his win.
“As it is now, though, Alberto is showing strong, like he has since the race began. There’s a lot of time left in this Giro, a lot of mountain stages in the next week, and we are going to do what we can to shake him.”
The further the grand tours get into the deep end, the more classifications become locked and the more riders begin to take stock.
Viewing the situation from the Madonna di Campiglio ski station at 5,627 feet on the second rest day, there appears to be a hotter battle for third through eighth places than for the pink jersey.
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