Joaquim Rodríguez of Katusha made the most of a day that suited his talents perfectly, taking the win today on stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia on the steep, narrow, winding streets of Assisi and taking the overall lead in the process.
The Spaniard pulled away from an elite group of riders, including the pink jersey Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), on the brutally steep last kilometer. No one could match Rodríguez’ explosive effort and he won the stage going away by multiple bike lengths.
“It was a great course for me today, I knew we could go,” Rodríguez told Italian television after the stage. When you get a finish like this you just have to take every advantage you can.
“I am very happy to have the pink jersey. We decided to put the whole team to work for it. So far it’s going well. It’s not just me, the whole team is working well.”
Poland’s Bartosz Huzarksi (NetApp) tried to go with him but faded quickly, hanging on for second, while Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) came right behind in third.
Hesjedal started the day with a nine second advantage over Purito, but even though Hesjedal only lost six seconds on the stage, he fell to second overall after Rodríguez’ time bonus was added in: Purito now leads him by 17 seconds on GC. Italian Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) is now in third overall, 32 seconds back.
“I knew it would be difficult to keep the jersey today. This finale is perfect for Purito,” admitted Hesjedal. “He’s a classy rider and Katusha took control of the stage today, so hat’s off to him.
“It’s been an amazing three days. The team’s had [pink] for five days. Couldn’t ask for more. I am looking more toward the third week. That’s where I am usually at my best. That’s where everything is decided. I hope to be at my best. There’s still a long ways to go.”
Domenico Pozzovivo, the Italian on Colnago-CSF who won stage 8 Sunday, and John Gadret (Ag2R) rounded out the day’s top five, while Roman Kreuziger (ASTANA) and Benat Intxausti (MOVISTAR)are 52 seconds back in fourth and fifth on GC.