Contador digs in to extend Giro lead
Alberto Contador survived an onslaught from the Astana team to tighten his grip on his Giro d'Italia lead as he finished yesterday's queen stage in Aprica in third place.
Spain's Contador started the day with a 2min 35sec lead and now has an 4min 2sec advantage over compatriot Astana's Mikel Landa, who won the stage 38 seconds ahead of Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk and the race leader.
Astana leader Fabio Aru finished 2:51 off the pace after blowing up on the intimidating Passo del Mortirolo climb and dropped to third overall, 4:52 behind Contador.
"It was a very hard day, an incredible stage. Cycling isn't mathematics: I had a puncture on the descent, Ivan Basso gave me a wheel, but ahead they were going at full speed, and it was impossible to close the gap immediately," said Contador.
"It was hard for me, but I'm very happy with the time gaps now. I would have liked to have helped Steven Kruijswijk, but it was not to be. To Mikel Landa, I can only say: chapeau."
While Contador tried to deal with the puncture, the Astana riders upped the pace and opened a gap of almost one minute, but the move backfired. At the foot of the penultimate climb, Contador was lagging 45 seconds behind but went solo and soon caught a small group featuring Landa and Aru.
He attacked them and only Landa could follow as Aru cracked.