John Gadret of AG2R attacked with the line almost in sight to overhaul the last survior of the day's break, Katusha's Daniel Moreno, to win Stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia in Castelfidardo this afternoon, the biggest win of his career. Moreno's team mate, Joaquin Rodriguez, came second, with Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti of Farnese Vini-Neri Sottili third. Alberto Contador crossed the line in fifth spot to retain the race leader's maglia rosa, with the other big names in the general classification all arriving well up the finish order.
Today’s 144km stage featuring rolling terrain as the race passed through Italy’s Marche region, with four Category 4 climbs and an uphill approach to the finish in Castelfidardo.
After the solemnity of a minute’s silence to mark the funeral today, 1,400km away in Ghent, of Leopard Trek rider Wouter Weylandt, once racing began in earnest there were bound to be a number of riders who fancied going on the attack, but it wasn’t until around half distance that a break finally managed to get away.
That group comprised ten riders, and surprisingly given the way the general classification riders have kept a close watch on each other throughout the race to date, it included Garmin Cervelo’s Christophe Le Mevel, who had started the day 1 minute 19 seconds down on Alberto Contador in the overall standings.
He was joined by two riders from Acqua & Sapone – Carlos Betancourt and Fabio Taborre - Simoni Stortoni of Colnago-CSF Inox, Katusha’s Daniel Moreno, Lampre ISD’s Marco Marzano, the Liquigas Cannondale rider Valerio Agnoli, Movistar’s Ignatas Konovalovas, Steven Kruijswijk of Rabobank, RadioShack’s Tiago Machado and Lars Nordhaug from Team Sky.
Le Mevel’s efforts to ride his way into the pink jersey were fated to come to nothing, however. With the peloton ripping along at a cracking pace behind, the escapees were picked off one by one in the closing kilometres.
In the end the Frenchman lost 9 seconds to most of his rivals in the overall standings, coming home in the second group 13 seconds behind them, offset by a 4 second time bonus he picked up during the break.
He now lies fourth on the general classification, 1 minute 28 down on Contador and on the same time as Lampre-ISD's Michele Scarponi. Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas Cannondale moves up to third, while Kanstantsin Sivtsov of HTC Highroad remains second.
Two riders attacked off the front of the break as the race approached its final 10 kilometres, Katusha’s Moreno and the Movistar man Konovalovas. Had the stage been a couple of hundred metres shorter, or had the road not reared up quite so much in the closing kilometre, Moreno, who had managed to ride away from his rival, may well have prevailed.
As it was, with the line almost in sight, Gadret launched himself off the front of the peloton, passing the tiring Spaniard as they approached the final bend, and doing just enough to hold off the rapidly gaining main group as the big GC names jostled for the minor placings.
It’s by far the biggest win of the 32-year-old’s career – previously, his best result was a 3rd place in the Plan de Corones mountain time trial on Stage 16 of last year’s Giro.
We imagine that back in France, some bottles of the local wine will be opened tonight in his honour – he hails from Epernay in the heart of Champagne country.
Giro d’Italia Stage 11 Result 1 GADRET John AG2R 3:33:11 2 RODRIGUEZ Joaquin Katusha same time 3 VISCONTI Giovanni Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli “ 4 SERPA Jose Androni Giocattoli “ 5 CONTADOR Alberto Saxo Bank-SunGard “ 6 KREUZIGER Roman Astana “ 7 CATALDO Dario Quickstep “ 8 SCARPONI Michele Lampre ISD “ 9 LASTRAS Pablo Movistar “ 10 NIBALI Vincenzo Liquigas-Cannondale “ 11 MENCHOV Denis Geox-TMC “ 12 CARRARA Matteo Vacansoleil-DCM “ 13 RUJANO Jose Androni-Giocattoli “ 14 ARROYO David Movistar “ 15 ANTON Igor Euskadi-Euskaltel “ 16 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin HTC-Highroad “ 17 GARZELLI Stefano Acqua & Sapone “ 18 DUPONT Hubert AG2R “ 19 POZZOVIVO Domenico Colnago-CSF Inox at 11 secs 20 FRANK Mathias BMC Racing " Giro d’Italia Overall Standings after Stage 11 1 CONTADOR Alberto Saxo Bank-Sungard 40:37:51 2 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin HTC-Columbia at 0:59 3 NIBALI Vincenzo Liquigas-Cannondale 1:21 4 LE MEVEL Christophe Garmin-Cervelo 1:28 5 SCARPONI Michele Lampre-ISD 1:28 6 ARROYO David Movistar 1:37 7 KREUZIGER Roman Astana 1:41 8 SERPA Jose Androni-Giocattoli 1:47 9 CATALDO Dario Quickstep 2:21 10 CARRARA Matteo Vacansoleil-DCM 2:21
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.