The epitome of Spanish joy!
Spaniard Jon Izagirre's solo break paid off as the Euskaltel rider won the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia here on Tuesday for his first major win at this level. Fellow Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez of the Katusha team retained the overall leader's pink jersey a day before the race heads to the northern Dolomite mountains.
Izagirre pulled ahead of a group of nine fellow escapees in a climb just 4km from the line, to claim his first success in this year's race for the Euskaltel team.
The 23-year-old, who turned professional last year and whose brother Gorka also rode for the same team, finished 15sec ahead of Italy's Alessandro De Marchi and Dutch rider Stef Clement. It was his second career win after a time-trial stage in the Tour of Asturias in April.
"We knew that this was an ideal stage to lead a breakaway," he said. "There were several of us in the team who tried and it was me who had the luck and the success to be in the right breakaway group. I am happy, no I would say I am very happy. It's my second success for the team but my first at this level. I am from a cycling family. My father was a professional, my brother (Gorka) was also in this team. This victory is important for the team especially if it helps in our search for a new sponsor...," he added.
Izagirre also was disdainful of the idea his team would help 33-year-old Rodriguez take the overall crown. "Will we form an alliance with Rodriguez? No, the leader of our team is Mikel Nieve."
Rodriguez for his part was phlegmatic about the challenge to come in the final days. "Anything can happen in Wednesday's stage, or nothing at all. I am expecting to be attacked and I am also ready to react."
Wednesday's stage covers 186km from Falzes to Cortina d'Ampezzo and includes four climbs, including one to 2236 meters altitude 18km from the line.
RESULTS: Tuesday's 173km 16th stage from Limone to Falzes:
1. Jon Izagirre (ESP/EUS) 4hr 02min 00sec (average 43.140 km/h), 2. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA/AND) at 16sec, 3. Stef Clement (NED/RAB) 16, 4. Mathias Frank (SUI/BMC) 19, 5. Jose Herrada (ESP/MOV) 21, 6. Manuele Boaro (ITA/SAX) 37, 7. Matthias Brandle (AUT/APP) 43, 8. Nikolas Maes (BEL/OPQ) 45, 9. Lars Bak (DEN/LTB) 45, 10. Luca Mazzanti (ITA/FAR) 48, 11. Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP/SKY) 8min 54sec, 12. Stefano Pirazzi (ITA/COG) 8:54, 13. Sandy Casar (FRA/FDJ) 8:57 14. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 8:57, 15. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/ LTB) 8:57, 16. Sergey Lagutin (UZB/VAC) 8:57, 17. Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED/RAB) 8:57, 18. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 8:57, 19. Daryl Impey (RSA/GEC) 8:57, 20. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 8:57.
1. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 69hr 22min 04sec, 2. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) at 30sec, 3. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 1min 22sec, 4. Paolo Tiralongo (ITA/AST) 1:26, 5. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) 1:27, 6. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 1:36, 7. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 1:42, 8. Sergio Henao (COL/SKY) 1:55, 9. Dario Cataldo (ITA/OPQ) 2:12, 10. Sandy Casar (FRA/FDJ) 2:13, 11.
Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 2:56, 12. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/VAC) 3:16, 13. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/COG) 3:17, 14. Johann Tschopp (SUI/BMC) 3:24, 15. John Gadret (FRA/ALM) 3:24, 16. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 3:33, 17. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 3:45, 18. Mikel Nieve (ESP/EUS) 4:20, 19. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/COG) 4:45, 20. Sergio Pardilla (ESP/MOV) 5:31.
TEAM REPORT: Omega Pharma Quickstep
22-May-2012: Fresh off a rest day, Nikolas Maes was part of a 10 rider breakaway that escaped 80km into the 174km race. The break had almost 12 minutes on the peloton at one point, in Stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday. The peloton never put much of a dent into the gap, which kept all of the riders in the break in contention for the stage victory in the final kilometers. However, Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) attacked within the last few kilometers and soloed to victory on the last climb of the stage. Alessandro de Marchi (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela) was 2nd and Stef Clement (Rabobank) was 3rd. Dario Cataldo remains in the top 10 overall, in 9th, 2'12" back from current GC leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team).
"Today I did my best," Maes said. "The first part of the race was really fast. As a team, we tried to be present in all the breakaways. Then, I jumped into the right one. We were a good group and we worked good together. I had good legs, but I have to say that the last climb was too much for me. It's a question of weight and attitude when it comes to the climbs. The first part of the climb I managed to stay with the best, but then I simply couldn't follow the pace of riders who are better than me on the climbs. However, I'm happy that I did it today. I'm in good shape, and with the difficult stages we will have in the next days, it was important to take the chance today."