Rodriguez Climbs into Pink With Giro Stage Ten Win

May 15, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez took the Stage Ten win and the race lead in the Giro d'Italia. (Katushateam.com)
Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez took the Stage Ten win and the race lead in the Giro d'Italia. (Katushateam.com)

Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez showed his climbing strength on the torturous double uphill finish of Stage Ten of the Giro d’Italia, attacking in the final two hundred meters to take both the stage win and the leader’s pink jersey.

The final three-and-a-half kilometers of Stage Ten consisted of two tough climbs with a very short descent between, over very narrow roads through the town of Assissi. The first climb had ramps up to 15 percent, while the second started at nearly eleven percent, flattening slightly near the end.  

Rabobank’s Thomas Slagter made a huge effort, leading much of the first climb and much of the second, while Katusha’s Daniel Moreno led Rodriguez up the second ascent, with Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal and Sky’s Sergio Henao near the front.

Slagter attacked halfway up the final climb, with Rodriguez and NetApp’s Bartosz Huzarski in tow. Two hundred meters out, Rodriguez made his move, dropping Slagter while Movistar’s Giovanni Visconti made a late charge to take third.

“Big thanks to Moreno for those last kilometers of the race,” Rodriguez told Eurosport. “That’s a great course for me. Today I knew we could try and go—it was going to be a spectacular finish. It’s so important for me to do what I can here for the stage victory and also for the bonuses.

“A journalist told me about the finish and now I know it was exactly my sort of thing. When you get to a finish like this you just have to take every advantage you can, do everything you can.”

Everything Focused on the Finish

A five-rider break—Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R,) Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini,) Matthias Brandle (NetApp,) Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM,) Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel)—but despite none of these riders being GC threats, the peloton never let the gap reach four minutes.

The catch could have been made fifty km out, but the peloton eased its pace; catching the break too soon would only invite further attacks, and the bunch didn’t want to exhaust itself chasing. There were too many riders who wanted a crack at the stage win or were within striking distance of the race leader. Everyone wanted their best for the decisive final climbs.

Thirty-two kilometers out from the finish, Rabobank’s Stef Cleemtn bridged up to the breakaway, which by this time had split in half. The two trailers, Matthias Brandle and Martijn Keizer, followed Clement all the way back to the leading trio of Bonnafond, Failli, and Minguez, cathng them 17 km from the finish.

By this time the peloton was flying, and ten kilometers after the leaders united, they were swallowed up. This kicked off a series of short attacks, none lasting more than a few hundred meters, as the roads got narrower and the teams started fighting hard for position.

Slagter led the charge into the first climb, with Lampre’s Michele Scarponi and Astana’s Roman Kreuziger, followed, with Rodriguez and race leader Ryder Hesjedal following. Colnago’s Domenico Pozzovivo then surged to the front, but Slagter fought back by him to reach the crest first.

Sky’s Rigoberto Uran and Ag2R’s John Gadret raced away from the rest on the short, narrow descent but once the road titled up again in the final 1200 meters this pair was overtaken.

Moreno led his teammate Rodriguez onto the next climb, with Henao and Hesjedal on his wheel. Halfway up, Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo attacked, Rodriguez followed. Slagter responded, catching up to and passing Rodriguez with NetApp’s Bartosz Huzarski clinging to him.

This trio gapped the rest in the final several hundred meters; the leaders hit the flatter section while the main bunch was still on the steeper part.

Rodriguez waited until the final few hundred meters to launch his attack. Slagter was done; he had pulled hard up both climbs and simply had no more. Huzarski trailed by an easy 15 meters at the line; Rodriguez excels on steep, short climbs and he proved it again here.

Ryder Hesjedal turned in a creditable ride to finish sixth; the young Canadian is still in the hunt for the overall. NetApp’s Batrosz Huzarski was a huge surprise, as was Rabobank;’s Thomas Slagter, who showed great climbing ability on both ascents.

Stage 11, 255 km from Assisi to Montecatini Terme, is a very long flat stage despite a Cat 3 and Cat 4 climb. The Cat 4 peaks 11 km from the finish, leading to a long shallow descent with an uphill kick in the final kilometer.[related right]

This stage will really test the sprinters, the few that are left. A good leadout could make the difference—with the incline, the sprinters’ final s will be shorter. Cavendish may be “The Fastest Man in the World,” but Matt Goss has the best leadout—assuming either makes it over the final climb in shape to sprint.

Giro d’Italia Stage Ten

 

rider

team

time

1

Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver

Katusha

4:25:05

2

Bartosz Huzarski

NetApp

0:02

3

Giovanni Visconti

Movistar

0:02

4

Domenico Pozzovivo

Colnago

0:06

5

John Gadret

AG2R

0:06

6

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin-Barracuda

0:06

7

Tom Jelte Slagter

Rabobank Cycling Team

0:06

8

Dario Cataldo

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:06

9

Roman Kreuziger

Astana

0:06

10

Rigoberto Uran

 

 

General Classification after Stage Twen

 

 

 

 

 

rider

team

time

1

Joaquim Rodriguez

Katusha

40:27:34

2

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin-Barracuda

0:17

3

Paolo Tiralongo

Astana

0:32

4

Roman Kreuziger

Astana

0:52

5

Benat Intxausti

Movistar

0:52

6

Ivan Basso

Liquigas-Cannondale

0:57

7

Damiano Caruso

Liquigas-Cannondale

1:02

8

Dario Cataldo

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

1:03

9

Eros Capecchi

Liquigas-Cannondale

1:09

10

Rigoberto Uran

Sky

1:10