ORICA-GreenEDGE Puts Two Rider in Giro d'Italia Stage 16 BreakTue 21 May 2013
The early action on stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia unfolded according to plan for ORICA-GreenEDGE. The team had hoped to put either Jens Keukeleire or Pieter Weening into the early break, and the ideal scenario would allow them a teammate who could provide assistance towards the end of the stage. Weening once again made it into the breakaway while Christian Meier joined him in the 22 strong move.
“We had identified today as one of the last break opportunities for the Giro,” said Sport Director Julian Dean. “We expected a large group to form, and we had two big opportunities in Pieter and Jens Keukeleire to do something from that sort of break. We managed to get Pieter up the road with Christian for support. We did that well. After that, we needed a little bit of luck.”
The strong breakaway group included a representative from most of the major teams. Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) was the best placed on the overall classification. Nearly ten minutes behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Cannondale), Caruso was not a threat to the overall lead; however, he proved concerning to teams with top ten contenders. Astana, Katusha and RadioShack never allowed the group more than five minutes over the peloton.
As the gap began to tumble in the second half of the stage, the harmony in the breakaway was disrupted. By the time the race reached the final climb to Andrate, the break had splintered into three groups – three race leaders, five chasers and the second chase group. The first two groups merged as the second chase group, containing Weening and Meier, fell back into the bunch.
“I spoke with Pieter on his way back to the peloton,” said Dean. “He had a look of frustration about him. Three stages in a row, he’s been in the right breakaway, and it just hasn’t worked out for him. We can’t take anything away from the guy. He has good form, and he’s really given it all these last few days.”
The category three climb and technical descent in the final 20 kilometres proved more difficult than the profile suggested. Nibali and the overall contenders animated the pointy end of the race, treating viewers to repeated attacks. Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) won a three-up sprint to take the stage win while Nibali successfully defended all challenges to his race lead. Weening went on to finish 172nd place, 17'17 behind Intxausti.
After suffering through the last few days of the second week of the Giro d’Italia with a cold, Matt Goss pulled the plug on his Grand Tour today.
“Obviously Gossy is disappointed,” said Dean. “No one chooses to leave a race like this. We’re pretty close to the finish, and it would have been a good opportunity for him tomorrow. There’s not much he could have done about it. Sick is sick.”