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"But I felt good today during the stage and the team did unbelievable work for me. We did a great attack on the dangerous descent after Aprica. Later the guys supported me in front and in the first km of the Mortirolo."

Photo: A.S.O.




26.05.2015 @ 19:56 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Stage 16 provided all the exciting tactics fans love to see in professional cycling and Team Katusha was at the heart of the action, attacking on the descent before the dreadfully steep Passo del Mortirolo to open up gaps and launch Iurii Trofimov in his bid to move up on the general classification. Trofimov did his part, closing gaps and keeping the pace high to arrive in fourth place on the stage and move up from sixth place into fifth place on the overall.


"I am happy with the result and the way I did today's race. It was a really hard stage with all these climbs and especially the Mortirolo, a very tough climb that seemed to go on and on. But I felt good today during the stage and the team did unbelievable work for me. We did a great attack on the dangerous descent after Aprica. Later the guys supported me in front and in the first km of the Mortirolo. I want to thank the team for this. In the end I did everything I could to come closer to leaders.It was impossible to catch them but anyway I was close and I was able to get a good 4th place. There are still a few really hard and important stages and all the fight is still ahead. We will keep moving ahead, step by step," said team leader Iurii Trofimov.


Forced to take up the leadership role for Astana as Fabio Aru faded on the climbs, Mikel Landa earned back-to-back stage wins with a time of 5:02.51 on the 174 km stage from Pinzolo to Aprica.  Chasing in for second and third place were Steven Kruijskijk (Lotto NL-Jumbo) and race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) at 38-seconds. Trofimov was fourth at 2.03. 


"I am really happy with the team and the performance of Iurii Trofimov. He did an impressive race. It was a great pleasure to see him today. We knew about the dangerous and complicated descent after Aprica, so we had a plan to attack there. Sergei Chernetckii and Sergey Lagutin did a very strong move to bring Trofimov in the breakaway and later Ilnur Zakarin supported him in the beginning of the Mortirolo where Iurii was really strong. So now he is 5th in GC but a lot of important things still are waiting for us. We will see how it will be in the next days," said team director Dmitry Konyshev.


When Team Katusha upped the pace, Astana joined the chase for Fabio Aru, second place on GC.  Race leader Alberto Contador was distanced and forced to use his teammates to stay within striking distance. On the climb of the Passo del Mortirolo, Contador took matters into his owns legs and struck out solo to catch up with the group of Trofimov and Aru. Once this target was met, Contador went to the front and quickly dropped Aru, who never recovered from his early efforts and was forced to let teammate Landa cover the moves of the race leader. Trofimov battled on, continuing his effort to reach the front group. It was in the closing kilometers that Landa surged again, this time leaving Kruijswijk and Contador to take second and third places. Aru arrived in 7th place at 2.51.


Contador widened his GC lead to 4.02, but now sits ahead of Mikel Landa in second with Fabio Aru in third place at 4.52.


Stage 17 on Wednesday provides some respite from the hard day of climbing just finished. At 134 km, the stage from Tirano to Lugano is the shortest in the three week Tour of Italy.  



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