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"Stages after a rest day are usually strange, and you could see how the likes of Santambrogio went through a bad day and lost time."

Photo: Movistar Team

BEÑAT INTXAUSTI

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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21.05.2013 @ 21:22 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Movistar Team's superb performance in the 2013 Giro d'Italia seems to continue at full throttle.

 

After the 2nd place in the opening team time trial in Ischia, the pink jersey by Intxausti in Pescara, Alex Dowsett's amazing success in the Saltara ITT and the unforgettable triumph by Visconti atop the Galibier on Sunday, Beñat Intxausti crowned squad's festival with a resounding victory in Ivrea today. The Blue team's designated leader for the race claimed honours on stage sixteen, a long, 238km trek from Valloire in France, with a 22-man breakaway including Eros Capecchi and a brilliant José Herrada which initially looked set to contest the day's win.

 

However, the bunch pushed in the finale and got closer to the escapees, the lead group splitting on the final ascent with Herrada always at the front while the favourites' group was reduced to only fifteen riders, with Intxausti always featuring prominently. The technical downhill and the flat leading to the finish saw a flurry of attacks that ended when Gesink (Blanco) – who eventually suffered a puncture and was unceremoniously dropped - Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Kangert (Astana) and Intxausti went away with 5km remaining. The Basque rider played his cards with great intelligence in the final straight and outsprinted his two rivals in the final 250 metres to take his first win of the season.

 

Wednesday will see stage seventeen: 214km between Caravaggio and Vicenza, with a similar finale to today's. Intxausti is now in 9th place overall, after Santambrogio (VIN) and Pozzovivo (ALM) sustained heavy time losses at the finish.

 

“Today I can really say I enjoyed it; I didn't believe myself when I took pink the other day,” Intxausti said after his win today. “It seemed like the least appropriate day for me, because the break had huge chances to make it to the finish, and that makes it even more beautiful and special. There was a big selection into the final climb and the main favourites looked to each other into the downhill - that's where I took advantage to escape. I knew Kangert was the most dangerous rider because he was always following our wheels. I kept my mind cool in the final kilometre and left all responsibility to Niemiec, so the Astana rider could get on his wheel. I saw them glancing for a bit with 250m to go and didn't wait, jumped from the left side... and it all went well.”

 

Intxausti also reflected on the unpredictable impact a rest day may sometimes have in a three week stage race. "Stages after a rest day are usually strange, and you could see how the likes of Santambrogio went through a bad day and lost time. As I stated before, making it to the front of the GC will be a matter of survival. I have personally felt well all day and that makes me even more confident for the lots of big mountains still to come. I hope to stay in my current place or improve it to close an outstanding Giro for me and the squad. After all, the goal here was raising my arms in victory, and I got it today. Last year, a flu prevented me from finishing within the best ten, and I hope that health stays well for me to end up as high as possible."

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