Gadret grabs Giro stage win
Contador remains in race lead
Last Updated: 18/05/11 5:09pm
Gadret: Put in a stinging attack on the run to the finish and held on to take a huge win
John Gadret attacked on the final climb to take victory on stage 11 of the Giro in Castelfidardo.
The Ag2r La Mondiale rider burst out of the lead group with 400 metres to go on the tough drag up to the line and swept past Daniel Moreno (Katusha) to take the biggest win of his career.
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) tried to bridge across to the Frenchman to no avail while Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini) rounded out the podium places in a frantic finish.
The tough stage looked likely to fall into the hands of the day’s 11-man breakaway before a concerted effort on the front of the peloton helped drag back the escapees within sight of the finish.
Alberto Contador finished fifth on the stage to maintain his 59-second race lead, despite appearing prepared to relinquish the Maglia Rosa during the stage on a highly tactical day in the medium mountains.
The stage began after a sombre one-minute silence to commemorate the funeral of Wouter Weylandt that took place on Wednesday in Belgium.
When the racing got under way there was a fierce fight to get into the break of the day, with an initial eight-man group moving clear containing a number of big names.
The collaboration between 2011 Giro stage winners Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) and Bart De Clercq (Omega Pharma-Lotto) raised a few eyebrows and was duly pulled back by a fast-moving peloton.
The second wave of attacks resulted in the pattern for the day being set, with nine-men breaking clear including third placed Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo).
Team Sky’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Tiago Machado (RadioShack) quickly bridged across to create an 11-man group that looked likely at one point to be allowed to contest the stage win.
Saxo Bank-Sungard controlled the gap at roughly the two minute mark on behalf of Alberto Contador yet the Spaniard seemed happy to relinquish the leader’s jersey to Le Mevel ahead of tougher mountain stages to come.
Soon the gap began to gradually tick over two minutes which saw a number of teams including Farnese Vini and Androni Giocattoli forced into action in a bid to bring things back together.
With 28km remaining Moreno broke clear of his fellow escapees ahead of the final climb of the day at Morrovale, temporarily fracturing the chasers and marking the beginning of the end for the break.
Konovalovas put his time trialling skills to good use as he bridged across to the Spaniard and the duo looked set to contest the stage win until a huge effort from Lampre-ISD brought things back together for a nail-biting finale.
Gadret emerged from the bunch and stayed clear as an elite group of favourites crossed the line after the most undulating day of the race thus far.