He might be out of overall contention at the Giro d'Italia, but Samuel Sánchez refuses to lay his weapons down. On Tuesday's 16th stage he attacked relentlessly in search of the team's first stage win in the race.
The finale of the 238-kilometre trek from Valloire to Ivrea was littered with attacks. The climb of Andrate, situated less than 20 kilometres from the line, saw several big-name riders try their luck with daring moves off the front on the descent as well as on the ascent.
The Euskaltel captain was one of the protagonists, darting off the front of the small select group that had formed after the day's break had been caught numerous times, hunting the win that would make him a victor in all three Grand Tours. Despite being joined by riders of the calibre of Carlos Betancur in some of his tries, luck wasn't forthcoming for Sánchez as the favourites refused him much lee-way.
Instead it was left to former team-mate Beñat Intxausti to raise his arms in jubilation as he took stage honours after besting Tanel Kangert (Astana) and Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) in a three-way sprint. The trio managed to hold off the chasing first group of favourites - of which Sánchez was a part - by a few seconds after attacking inside the final pair of clicks, leading the Movistar rider to claim his third, and easily biggest, win of his professional career.
On GC it was mainly a case of status quo, except for Mauro Santambrogio dropping from fourth to sixth after ceding two minutes. Sánchez rose to 15th.
- (1, Beñat Intxausti (Movistar), 5:52:48)
- 13, Samuel Sánchez, 0:14
- 24, Egoi Martínez, 1:51
- 27, Gorka Verdugo, s.t.
- 46, Jorge Azanza, 3:31
- 98, Ioannis Tamouridis, 10:53
- 114, Robert Vrecer, s.t.
- 145, Miguel Mínguez, 16:16
- 157, Ricardo Mestre, 17:10
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi