Friday, May 10, 2013

Intxausti dons pink as Samu moves up

Once upon a time hailed as Spain's next big thing in Grand Tour racing, Beñat Intxausti might just be about to step up to the plate.

At the end of another rainy and crash-filled stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday, the Movistar rider was able to put on the 'maglia rosa' of overall leader as both Luca Paolini and Rigobert Urán, lying in first and second respectively heading into stage stage seven, ceded time.

It might not make his a favourite to stand on the overall podium when the peloton reaches Brescia, but the thrills and spills of stage six certainly hasn't diminished his chances of causing an upset.

Both Vincenzo Nibali and Bradley Wiggins hit the tarmac as a late downpour made every single curve a lottery, and the latter didn't manage to catch back on and lost a potentially decisive one minute and 24 seconds.

Euskaltel leader Samuel Sánchez stayed out of trouble, though, cruising home with the group of favourites alongside Egoi Martínez 1:07 down on breakaway winner Adam Hansen.

The Antipodean formed part of the break of the day along with five others, among them the active Ioannis Tamouridis, and lasted the distance to claim a famous, and not least well deserved, win.

Samu's consistent opening week has landed him 11th overall heading into Saturday's long individual time trial, 52 seconds off Intxausti's time.

Before today, Bradley Wiggins was expected to put quite a few minutes into his biggest rivals in the 54,8km race against the clock. Now, though, given his lacklustre showing on Friday, he's a big unknown going into what many is expected to be a decisive day in the race for the overall podium.

No matter his travails, Samu says he's the man to beat.

"I think we all expect Wiggins to beat us with something to spare", he says. "Anything else would be a surprise. He's a specialist, and he looks to me to be in shape, despite losing some time today. It's a taxing course and 55 kilometres is a lot. It's Wiggins' chance to open up a gap and tip the race in his favour.

"We'll try to lose as little time as possible", he continues. "I don't want to put a number on anything, we'll see how the race goes."

  • (1, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), 4:35:49)
  • 20, Samuel Sánchez, 1:07
  • 27, Egoi Martínez, s.t.
  • 51, Jorge Azanza, 2:31
  • 85, Robert Vrecer, 6:54
  • 103, Ricardo Mestre, 11:07
  • 107, Ioannis Tamouridis, s.t.
  • 113, Gorka Verdugo, 13:41
  • 174, Miguel Mínguez, 18:45

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