Sunday, May 15, 2011

Giro d`Italia stage 9

Igor Antón passed the Giro`s first big mountainous test with flying colours today by grabbing eighth on the highly anticipated stage to Etna. The stage had promised much and it delivered. Contador dealt a massive blow to main GC rivals Scarponi, Menchov and Nibali with a crushing solo win, whilst Antón rode smartly to place eighth on the stage and move to 11th overall, tied on time with number 10 Carrara. It didn`t look too good for him to start with though, as he was seen hovering perilously close to the back-end of the main group for all but the last five k`s. Eventually he found his legs though and proved he`s got what it takes to go for a big win in the last week. A quick glance at the overall standings also make for positive reading. Of the serious candidates for the podium, only Contador, Nibali, Scarponi and Kreuziger are ahead of him. With the big mountains yet to come he`s already got a gap to riders like Menchov, Rodríguez, Garzelli, Kiserlovski and Pinotti. The GC was not a goal going into the race, I know, but if he continues to improve stage by stage like he`s doing now he should perhaps start aiming for the podium. He`s certainly got it in him and the route is perfect for the Galdakao native, so we`ve got a lot to look forward to in the next two weeks. Nieve also showed his hand today with a clever attack some eighth kilometres from the top. The wiry climber jumped after the revitalized Rujano, but Nieve never really managed to open up a gap and was swallowed up by a fast-moving bunch not long after. Eventually he took a creditable 28th at just 2:21, so a good performance from him. Isasi stayed with the front group for quite a while up the last climb and expertly guided Antón towards the sharp end of the pack before having to let go. He came in at 9 minutes 16 second in 53rd place. Aramendía and Azanza rolled in 23:46 in arrears, whilst Sesma, Cazaux and Minguez finished up 24:46 down. Oroz, still smarting from injuries sustained earlier in the week, ended up a full 26 minutes down in 175th place.


arnout said...

He's good, but doesn't have the edge yet. In top form, he will beat Nibali no doubt. Lets hope he can improve just that tiny bit for the steeper mountains, which should suit him more anyway.

Kevin said...

I've never seen Isasi do something like this in the mountains. There's at least one Euskaltel rider in top form :)

arnout said...

He is absolutely amazing yeah, very good.

Nieve is holding his own as well, would be nice to see him in a break in the mountains, good chance of a victory.

azanca02 said...

Yeah I can't wait for the back to back to back mountain top finishes. Nieve and Anton should be targeting those.

Magnus said...

Couldn't agree more! Looking forward to see Nieve try for a repeat of his Cotobello win in the Vuelta!


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