Week in the Maglia Rosa Comes to a Close in the Apennines

Sat 17 May 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE’s seven day run in the maglia rosa came to an end in the Apennines mountain range. Michael Matthews crossed the finish line 34’19 behind Giro d’Italia stage eight winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida). Cadel Evans (BMC) pulled on the pink jersey in Montecopiolo with a lead of 57” over Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) in second and 1’10 over Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) in third.

Ivan Santaromita was the top placed rider for the Australian outfit on the first mountain finish. The Italian National Road Champion climbed to 46th place more than seven minutes behind Ulissi.

“We started the stage thinking we still wanted to give Ivan the best possible chance at riding the general classification,” said Sport Director Matt White. “We put our efforts there and supported him as long as we could. That was pretty much the only objective of the day other than getting our weathered crew though the stage.”

“It doesn’t look as if Ivan will be riding the overall anymore, but we still have goals to target,” White added. “We’ve put in a lot of work into getting ready for the entire month. Just because we had a super week with the two stage wins and the jersey doesn’t mean we’re done.”

It took nearly an hour for the early breakaway to assume shape. Eventually, ten riders escaped up the road. They built up an advantage of not quite nine minutes before BMC and Movistar took responsibility for the chase. With the category one Cippo di Carpegna looming, several teams sought representation at the head of affairs. The gap to leaders fell as the road rose.

By the time the peloton reached the mountain’s summit, the breakaway had splintered and the grupetto had formed. Matthews had hung on as long as he could before giving into the inevitable. Movistar and BMC remained resolute at the front of the reduced bunch.

Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) attacked the remnants of the breakaway, riding away solo. He remained alone out front over the category two Villagio del Lago and carried a 2’40 advantage into the Montecopiolo over the group of overall contenders.

Pierre Rolland (Europcar) had set off after Arredondo on the descent between the final two climbs. The Frenchman caught the Colombian inside the final five kilometres. Arredondo cracked at the two kilometre mark, and Rolland forged ahead alone. A reduced bunch containing nearly all the pre-race favourites overtook Rolland 350 metres from the finish line.

“Today was the first real mountain stage,” said White. “We’ve been up some climbs, but today was the first real day in the mountains with an incredibly hard final 90 minutes. It’s a good indication of who is moving well in terms of the general classification. For our guys, it may just be survival in the mountains until we hit the rolling and flat stages again.”