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Uran beats Ulissi by a massive 1.17 in the 41.9km time trial that was full of surprises; Evans finishes third but loses the maglia rosa to the impressive Colombian

Photo: Sirotti










22.05.2014 @ 18:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) did the time trial of his life when he became a surprise winner of the 41.9km time trial of the Giro d'Italia. The Colombia was a massive 1.17 faster than another big surprise, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), while Cadel Evans (BMC) did well to take third but had to relinquish the maglia rosa to his Colombian rival.


When he finished 4th in the Tour de Romandie time trial, Rigoberto Uran gave the first indications that his dedicated attempt to improve in the discipline had paid off and based on that performance, many had expected him to be one of the winners in today's 41.9km time trial in the Giro d'Italia. However, very few would have expected the Colombian to actually win the stage.


Nonetheless, that's what he did as he produced the ride of his life on the rolling course in the Barolo area. He not only beat all his rivals, he was in a class of his own beating everybody by more than a minute.


Already at the first time check, Uran gave indications that he was on a good day when he set the second fastest time. Only Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) had been faster but while the tiny Italian faded back and finished outside the top 10, Uran just went faster and faster.


At the second time check, he set the fastest time, 27 seconds faster than the one posted by Diego Ulissi who was a surprise leader at that point. He kept his speed all the way to the finish, crossing the line in a time that was 1.17 faster than Ulissi's.


Cadel Evans put in a dogged defence of his jersey but was up against a stronger rider. He was only 8th at the first check but unlike many of the climbers, he gauged his effort well and improved in the second part of the race, crossing the line in 3rd. Despite his good ride, however, Evans lost 1.34 to Uran and as he only started the day with a 57-second advantage, he dropped to second.


Another big winner was Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) who was just 5 seconds slower than Evans and finished fourth. This means that the Pole consolidates his third place on GC and defended his white jersey for best young rider.


Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) was expected to be one of the winners and the Dutchman did well to finish 7th on the stage. As opposed to this, it turned out to be a bad day for Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who lost 2.41 to Uran and even though he moved to 6th in the overall standings, he now finds himself a massive 3.29 behind his compatriot.


The many specialists that had targeted this stage, was left with little chance to match the GC riders as most of them rode under torrential rain or on very wet roads. Pre-race favourite Adriano Malori (Movistar) who was still suffering from yesterday's crash, finished far off the pace and Patrick Gretsch (Ag2r) and Thomas De Gendt (OPQS) were the only riders among the earlier starters to make it into the top 10.


In general, Omega Pharma-Quick Step had a fantastic day as they had four riders in the top 10: Uran, Gianluca Brambilla, Thomas De Gendt and Wout Poels.


Uran gets his first taste of wearing pink in tomorrow's 12th stage which brings the riders over 157 mostly flat kilometres. Only a small category 4 climb in the final third of the race will test the sprinters and it is hard to imagine that it won't be a stage for the fast finishers.


A crucial stage

After yesterday's long, very fast stage, the Giro d'Italia continued with its most important stage so far, the 41.9km time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo. Held on a rolling course with three climbs and two technical descents, it only offered a flat middle part for the time trial specialists. Going into the stage, many were a bit uncertain about whether the stage would be won by one of the real time trialists or a GC rider. For the climbers, it was all about limiting their losses ahead of the decisive mountain stages later in the race.


The weather forecast had predicted rain and it was in fact raining by the time, the first riders warmed up for their ride. The first rider down the ramp was previous race leader Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEDGE) who took the start at 12.45 local time. The Canadian would usually have been an outsider for such a stage but as he is still feeling the effects of his crash a few days ago he had announced that he would take it easy.


Tuft sets best time

The Canadian was the first rider to cross the line, stopping the clock in a rime of 1.05.56. Despite using the stage as a recovery rider, however, Tuft managed to stay in the hot seat for a few minutes as his time was good enough to beat riders like teammate Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE).


The 8th rider to start was Michel Koch (Cannondale) who is another rider known for his TT skills. The German powered around the course, clocking the fastest time at both intermediate checks before stopping the clock in a time that was 1.58 faster than Tuft's. It is testament to the toughness of the course that he was the first rider to hold an average speed of more than 40kph.


Flens takes the lead

Koch's time as provisional leader was limited though as another strong TT specialist, Rick Flens (Belkin), had already beaten him at both time splits. The Dutchman kept the speed all the way to the finish, crossing the line in a time of 1.01.49 to go 1.19 faster than Koch.


Flens stayed in the lead for a long time as the many sprinters who were among the early starters didn't pose much of a threat. However, he also held off riders like Jos Van Emden (Belkin) and Andrey Amador (Movistar) before he was finally knocked out of the hot seat.


Gretsch new leader

The rider to do so was Gretsch who was the first rider to go beyond the 1-hour mark, stopping the clock in 59.46. At this point, it was already clear that Malori would be no threat as the Italian was far off the pace at the intermediate checks.


Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) had been fast a both intermediate check but by the time he reached the finish, he could only manage 2nd. At this point, however, it was clear that Gretsch's time as leader was coming to an end as De Gendt had been faster at both checks. However, it ended up being a close fight as the Belgian was only 5 seconds faster.


Good ride by Cataldo

Dylan Van Baarle (Garmin), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) all had decent rides to make it into the top 10 while there was disappointments for Jonatan Castroviejo (Movistar) and Johan Le on (FDJ). Riccardo Zoidl (Trek) seemed to be on his way to a good ride but lost time on the descent and could only managed 10th.


The next big threat was Dario Cataldo (Sky) who continued to get faster and faster throughout the course but in the end he ran out of ground, crossing the line in third, 16 seconds slower than De Gendt. Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Shimano) had posted a good time at the first check but overcooked a turn on the wet descent and had a very dramatic, race-ending crash.


Rogers on a roll

One day after his stage win Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) was intent on doing a good ride and he made it into fourth after improving his performance from time check to time check. Georg Preidler (Giant-Shimao) was the next rider to crack the provisional top 10.


At this point, all eyes were on Ulissi though as the Italian had crushed the opposition at both time checks. When he crossed the line, he had been 50 seconds faster than De Gendt while his teammate Damiano Cunego also made it into the top 10.


Disappointment for Quintana

Jose Herrada (Movistar) and Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky) both made it into the top 10 before Brambilla produced the ride of his life to cross the line in 2nd. His teammate Poels was only 7 seconds slower, making it three OPQS riders in the provisional top 4.


The GC battle was now heating up and all eyes were on Quintana who was the first of the favourites to finish his stage. The Colombian had been fast on the first climb but when he crossed the line, he could only manage 8th.


Decent ride by Kelderman

Kelderman had been slow on the first climb but gauged his effort well to cross the line in fourth. Fabio Aru (Astana) had been faster than Ulissi at the first time check but in the flatter part of the course, he had lost a lot of time, making it into the provisional 12th.


Steve Morabito (BMC) finished outside the top 20 while Pozzovivo overcame a poor descent to finish in the provisional 6th. Moments later, Majka proved his great improvements in the discipline when he made it into 2nd.


Uran takes the lead

However, Uran was in a class of his own and as he was already the virtual maglia rosa at the second check, the outcome was never in doubt. The Colombian powered across the line to stop the clock in 57.34 and now just had to wait for Evans to finish his ride.


The Australian did his best and was really strong in the second half but ended up in third and had to relinquish the maglia rosa.



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