FALZES, Italy (AFP) — Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi) won stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia in Falzes. The Spaniard attacked twice on the final climb to the finish to free himself from his breakaway partners and rode alone to the finish.
Alessandro De Marchi (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) finished second, ahead of Stef Clements (Rabobank) in third.
“We have been fighting for this whole Giro,” said Izaguirre. “We’ve been in a lot of breakaways, so to win today, it’s very important for me and for the team. Today was the last chance for a breakaway like this to work. The big mountains are coming and the GC riders will be attacking at the front. It was not easy to get into the breakaway. There were a lot of attacks, but we worked together well to make it work.”
Izaguirre pulled ahead of a group of nine fellow escapees in a climb just 4km from the line, countering an attack from Matthias Frank (BMC Racing). Frank, De Marchi and José Herrada (Movistar) chased together on the false flat leading from the top of the climb to the finish, but Clements came from behind to take third.
It was Izaguirre’s second career win after a time trial stage in the Vuelta a Asturias in April.
“It’s infuriating! I was already third on Saturday at Cervinia. When the Euskaltel rider attacked, I did not believe it could go to the end and I responded,” said De Marchi. “I made a mistake and I paid a high price. I missed a great opportunity but I will try again. I can only congratulate the winner.”
Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) finished in a 25-odd-rider group with the GC contenders to retain the maglia rosa.
After a fast-paced first hour in the saddle a breakaway group of 10 riders moved ahead after 61km of the 173km stage, building up a lead of 12:30 just 25km from the line. The bunch backed off the pace, other than a brief acceleration from Liquigas-Cannondale, and crossed the line nine minutes behind the leaders.
“Tomorrow is going to be a hard stage. The first real hard day in the mountains. With four climbs, it’s going to be a tappone without a doubt,” said Rodríguez. “I do not know why everyone keeps saying that I fold in the final week. I am usually strong in the third week of a grand tour. If everyone is waiting for that, they’re going to be wrong.”
Wednesday’s stage 17 covers 186km from Falzes to Cortina d’Ampezzo, with four climbs, including the Passo Giau, at 2236 meters altitude, 18km from the line.
Editor’s Note: Keep your browser pointed to VeloNews.com for more from stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia.