Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone) spun his way up hard-packed gravel roads to the spectacular summit at Plan de Corones to claim a surprise Giro d’Italia stage victory ahead of a dogfight for the GC favorites on Tuesday.
Garzelli stopped the clock in 41 minutes, 28 seconds (18.7kph) on the knee-busting route with ramps as steep as 24 percent to claim his first Giro stage victory since 2007.
“It’s incredible to win today. This is one of the mythic stages at the Giro, I still cannot believe I won,” said Garzelli, who rode a 34×28 low gear. “I tried to spin in my easiest gears to recover a little bit in the hardest parts. When I saw my time, I thought someone would beat it.”
No one could. Garzelli started in the third and final wave, so all the top riders rode under similar conditions as a strong wind kicked up in the afternoon.
The GC contenders were fighting to gain time on stubborn Spanish rider David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne), who stopped the clock at 2:16 in 16th, but retained the pink jersey.
Arroyo leads Ivan Basso (Liquigas), who climbed into second at 2:27 back. Tasmanian sensation Ritchie Porte (Saxo Bank) also rode well, slotting into third on GC at 2:36 back.
Cadel Evans (BMC) rode to second on the stage at 42 seconds back, gained 28 seconds on archrival Basso and moved into fourth at 3:09 back. Carlos Sastre (Cervélo) ceded more ground and slipped to fifth at 4:36 back.
Courtey Andrew Hood
Images courtesy Graham Watson