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Giro notebook stage 12: NetApp getting closer; Bak nabs first grand tour win

‘Purito’ plays poker with jersey

Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) was back on the podium Thursday afternoon to receive his pink jersey, but it’s thanks to Liquigas-Cannondale that he still has it.

Katusha was playing poker with the pink jersey, letting the breakaway open up enough time to allow Sandy Casar to take the virtual jersey. As Valerio Piva told VeloNews yesterday, the team was not averse to letting the jersey riding away today.

But Liquigas-Cannondale put legs on the front of the bunch over the day’s final climb to assure that Rodríguez would still be in pink, and keep the pressure on Katusha to control the race.

“We could see that other teams were not helping us control the stage. Smukulis crashed, so we decided to step back a bit and make the others work,” Rodríguez said. “Astana and Liquigas have to help us control the break.”

Asked whether that was a curse or a blessing, Rodríguez said he’s not afraid to carry the weight of the race.

“Our team is very strong. The Russians on the team are doing a great job protecting me on the flats, and then we have Moreno and Losada for the mountains,” he said. “We are taking the Giro as serious as it needs to be.”