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"It was impossible to close the gap after that. I think also [the breakaway] knew I was chasing and they did not want me to get across. I was close, 30 seconds, and normally that is possible.”

Photo: Sirotti






28.05.2015 @ 20:10 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Everyone knew today’s stage 18 in the Giro d’Italia was a perfect setting for a breakaway to succeed to the end, and it was a fast, aggressive start once again. Fabio Felline had the green light to jump in a breakaway, and he, as well as many others, belligerently attempted to form an escape. The elastic, stretched numerous times, finally snapped after 44 kilometers had been raced and 14 men got clearance to ride.


It is never an easy feat to find the group that will shape the day’s breakaway and after frequent attempts when the 14 riders moved clear, Felline missed the boat.


“It’s strange because last year my power was half of right now, and when I tried to get in breakaways – in the Giro, in the Vuelta - every time when I decided to go in the breakaway every day, I got in the breakaway. Two days ago it was not a realistic breakaway for me and I was not even trying, and today I try…and nothing. I am so disappointed,” Felline said.


When he realized this group would stick, he immediately set off in pursuit, but even with the assistance of another rider, it was futile. He chased for numerous kilometers before finally throwing in the towel and returning to the peloton to ride out the stage with the rest of the team.


Felline explained the situation when the break went:


“I had 2 -3 mins when I was à bloc and when I finally recovered my energy and the road started to descend the riders went away. It was impossible to close the gap after that. I think also [the breakaway] knew I was chasing and they did not want me to get across. I was close, 30 seconds, and normally that is possible.”


As expected the breakaway was allowed freedom to contest the stage, and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) grabbed his second stage victory with an impressive show of strength, leaving the rest of his breakaway companions to fight out the minor places.


Behind the GC battle raged over the category 1 mountain climb (10.4kms, 9%) at stage end where Alberto Contador increased his lead further to take a commanding hold of the overall, while Astana’s Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa both lost time.


The Giro continues with back-to-back stages in the high mountains over the next two days, before concluding on Sunday in Milan with a flat stage. Giacomo Nizzolo had a day off from defending his red jersey as the breakaway consumed all the points, however, Gilbert has moved into fourth and could pose an outside threat in the next days.


Felline could not hide his discontent:


“I am very disappointed because I tried to take the breakaway many times and today was my last day to try, so now for me personally my Giro is finished to try for a win.  Tomorrow and the next day I can dream, but it is not realistic. But okay, now, we try for a victory with Giacomo Sunday. And also the points jersey.”



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