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"I knew that I had to take advantage of it and attack or go in a break. It was just bad luck that the profile of the stage did not really suit my profile as a rider but once you are in the front you go for it," Belkov says

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele




01.06.2014 @ 13:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Katusha had another chance to save their Giro d'Italia in yesterday's stage to the top of the feared Monte Zoncolan and the team were part of the action as Maxim Belkov in the break that made it to the finish. The Russian felt strong but regretted that the final climb didn't suit him.


The last day of climbing came on Saturday’s stage 20 of the 2014 Giro d’Italian with a trip up the super steep Zoncolan the main feature of the day. Putting himself in an early break gave Team Katusha’s Maxim Belkov a front row seat on the last climb of the race.


“From the first minute I felt that I had good legs," Belkov said. "I knew that I had to take advantage of it and attack or go in a break. It was just bad luck that the profile of the stage did not really suit my profile as a rider but once you are in the front you go for it. I gave my maximum. 


"The really hard and steep mountains are not my thing - I am too heavy for that. I am more the rider to ride very long at a high speed, like a machine. The Zoncolan is famous and indeed terrible. The first kilometer of the climb you could already feel how tough it is. Everybody immediately chose his own pace. For some that was faster than for others.”


Maxim Belkov finished 15th on the stage.


A breakaway comprised of 20 riders, including Katusha’s Maxim Belkov, went away early in the stage and managed to pull an advantage of more than 8 minutes along the way. It became evident that race leader Nairo Quintana was more interested in playing it safe than notching up another stage win and his Movistar team kept the main field at a reasonable pace while the break stayed clear.


Australian Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF) put up a two-man battle halfway through the final 10 km climb, but an overly-enthusiastic fan gave the Italian a push that caused him to pull his foot from the clip and lose the wheel, as well as his rhythm, on the climb. Rogers claimed his second stage win, this one a solo victory atop the race’s hardest climb at a time of 4:41.55. Second place went to Franco Pellizotti at 38-seconds and third to Bongiorno another 11-seconds back.


Maglia rosa Nairo Quintana rolled in 4.45 later to secure his overall win in the 97th Giro d’Italia.  Beside him was Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), second on GC at 3.07. The third spot on the podium belongs to young Fabio Aru of Astana at 4.04.


Sunday still brings opportunities for the sprinters with a 169 km route from Gemona to Trieste.  The stage includes 8 local laps in Trieste before bringing the 2014 edition to a conclusion. 



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