Giro d'Italia: Mick Rogers wins stage 11 solo as Cadel Evans retains pink jersey
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 21/05/14 9:40pm
Mick Rogers launched his decisive attack 21km out
Mick Rogers claimed his first Grand Tour win by riding to a solo victory on stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia as fellow Australian Cadel Evans consolidated his overall lead.
Rogers attacked out of the peloton on the descent from the final climb of the day, 21km from the finish, and held off the chasing pack to win by ten seconds in Savona.
It was the 34-year-old Tinkoff-Saxo rider’s first victory in almost two years and came less than a month after making his comeback following an enforced lay-off.
Rogers tested positive for Clenbuterol at the Japan Cup last October, but was allowed to return to racing without punishment in April after the International Cycling Union accepted his explanation that he had eaten contaminated food.
Rogers said: “It was certainly a beautiful moment. It was spur of the moment attack. I saw on top of the climb that all the contenders for the general classification were looking at each other and a possibility opened up, and I took it.”
Simon Geschke edged out Enrico Battaglin in the sprint for second place, while Evans crossed the line in the main bunch after a fast and frantic day to ensure he retains his 57-second lead over Rigoberto Uran in the general classification.
Evans: “It was hot. The speed at the start, the speed in the middle and then the last climb all added together to make a really difficult stage.”
At 249km, stage 11 was the second longest day of the race, and with the route offering potential of a breakaway winner, the first 100km were ridden at breakneck pace as all teams looked to get riders in the escape.
After a couple of failed attempts, a 14-man breakaway was finally allowed to move clear, but their lead did not stretch beyond five minutes and their plight was further undermined when they started to split up on the second and final climb, the category-two Naso di Gatto, which arrived with just under 40km to go.
Ireland’s Nicolas Roche was one four riders who briefly forged ahead, but they were soon caught and overtaken by Julian Arredondo, who had attacked out of the chasing peloton and later crested the summit first as he extended his lead in the mountains classification.
The main pack was still only a handful of seconds behind, though, and Arredondo and the rest of the leaders were swiftly swallowed up just after the summit, with 25km remaining. That opened the door for Rogers, who quickly opened out a healthy lead and was helped to stay away by the fact that the BMC team of Evans was in no rush to close him down.
Evans will now look to stretch his overall lead on stage 12, which is a 41.9km rolling individual time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo.
He added: “It’s the real test tomorrow and, on paper, it looks like a good time trial for me. Like any time trial, I just hope to get everything down on the results sheet, and how that compares with the other GC contenders, we will see tomorrow.”
Stage 11 result
1 Mick Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo, 5:48:07
2 Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano, +10secs
3 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardinani-CSF, same time
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin, st
5 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
6 Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale, st
7 Ryder Hesjedal (Ita) Garmin-Sharp, st
8 Mattero Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli, st
9 Fabio Duarte (Col) Colombia, st
10 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, 48:39:04
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) ) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +57secs
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo, +1:10
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1:20
5 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC, +1:31
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, +1:39
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin, +1:44
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +1:45
9 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing, +1:49
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale, +2:01