Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) was glad to see Garmin-Cervélo’s Christophe Le Mevel dart out the peloton early in Wednesday’s stage in a run for the pink jersey. Contador and the Saxo Bank team were more than glad to let another team take the leader’s jersey.
“I wouldn’t have minded at all if someone took the jersey today. There’s still a lot of Giro left and the most important is to have the jersey in Milano, not right now,” Contador said. “The jersey means a lot more work for the team and more commitments for me after the stage. Resting is important in this Giro, because the Giro is also won in the hotels. In the end, the other teams helped chase down the break and I’m still in pink.”
Contador also expressed his confidence in his team to keep him well-protected ahead of the most important portion of the Giro.
“We have a strong team here at the Giro. We have riders who can help me in the flats and in the mountains. I confide in them completely,” Contador continued. “Today was a hard stage, up-and-down on narrow roads, like a classic. You had to be attentive at all moments. Tomorrow is a sprint stage and then we go into the mountains. This Giro is far from over. There’s still a lot of racing. Again, the most important is to have the pink jersey in Milano.”
Cipollini calls Cavendish ‘fat’
Mario Cipollini had some harsh words for Mark Cavendish in his daily column in La Gazzetta dello Sport. First, he criticized HTC for leaving Cavendish isolated in the sprint before questioning the Manxster’s commitment to his profession.
“Mark is being mismanaged. I do not believe he’s 100 percent devoted to his profession and, in fact, he’s fat. How is it possible that someone as talented as him has only won three races this season?”
No word yet from Cavendish, who will line up as the hot favorite for victory in Thursday’s flat stage to Ravenna.
Giro mourns Weylandt
Wednesday’s 11th stage started with a moment of silence in honor of Wouter Weylandt, who died in a crash in stage 3. Weylandt was mourned in his native Belgium in an emotional funeral service, but riders and Giro staff remembered the Belgian rider.
“Everyone is thinking about Wouter today,” said race leader Alberto Contador after the stage. “Everyone here in cycling is like family. We’re competitors during the race, but afterwards we’re all quite close. Everyone is moved by what happened.”
Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan traveled to Belgium to attend the Weylandt ceremony.
Mikael Cherel (Ag2r) was fined 50 Swiss francs and penalized 10 seconds in the GC and 5 points in the points classification for taking an illegal tow from the team car.
4km: Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) and Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil) both went down, with the former suffering a wound to his left gum
30km: David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo) crashes on a downhill, suffering cuts and scrapes to his right elbow and knee. He was treated during the stage and finished the race
PINK: Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) retained his lead with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) slotting into third as Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo) slipped to fourth after losing a few seconds on the final climb.
RED: Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) regained the red jersey from Contador after finishing third in the stage; he now leads 80 to Contador’s 77.
GREEN: Filippo Savini (Colnago CSF-Inox) defended his climber’s jersey to Contador, 16-15, with Bart De Clerq (Omega-Lotto) in third with 11 points.
WHITE: Roman Kreuziger (Astana) widened his lead in the best young rider’s jersey, now 1:21 ahead of his teammate Franco Masciarelli.