Mikel Nieve saved Team Sky’s Giro by holding off Giovani Visconti (Movistar) and an energised mob of favourites, to take a fine solo win. The elite group probed for signs of weaknesses on every type of slope. They distanced Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step), but they couldn’t shake Movistar’s Andrey Amador who rode himself into the maglia rosa. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) out-sprinted Alejandro Valverde to grab the bonus seconds for third place and move onto the GC podium.
Rider of the Stage
Several riders could be mentioned in dispatches today. There’s the stage winner and his incredible ride for a start. Giant Alpecin’s Tobias Ludvigsson attacking solo in the first five kilometres only to finish in last place as he was struck down by illness. Or how about the inexhaustible Michele Scarponi putting the hurt on for Astana? [I can hear Miss Fondue’s snorts of derision from here!!] There is of course only one rider for this award. He’s the only rider outside of Etixx-Quick Step and Giant-Alpecin to wear the pink. The only Costa Rican to lead the Giro, or any other Grand Tour come to that… step forward Andrey Amador.
Quick in the time trials, mixing it in the sprints and fearless in his attacks: our favourite little Movistarlet has had a strong Giro so far. Bare statistics don’t tell the whole story, a VeloVoice rider also needs a spark of something that sings to our cycling soul. We celebrate racers that just won’t give up, and Andrey’s gutsy performance today hit the mark. With young Bobby in trouble, all he had to do was stay with the lead group and the pink jersey would be his. It wasn’t an easy ride, but every time he was distanced on the climbs he found it within himself to claw his way back on.
He’s the sole Costa Rican on the WorldTour and you can feel just how proud he is to to represent his country from the Movistar stage review…
Costa Rica is a small country, yet with a big heart. When there’s only one ‘tico’ supporting me in a race, it feels as if they were hundred. This jersey is a tribute to all of them. They’ve always supporting me, no matter if results were good or bad, and I just hope this serves as a boost of confidence for all the youngsters in our country: we’re talented enough to be up here with the top guys in Europe.
We can’t let this post pass without mentioning the rumours of discontent on the Movistar bus. Some of the race tactics involving Amador, Valverde and Visconti have seemed a little off-kilter, for all the team missives speak of the spirit of cooperation. The next two days in the mountains should make things a little clearer for everyone. Until then, we leave you with this picture of team harmony…
We LOVE those pyjamas Andrey #TicoRosa
And one for Panache…
Our American VeloVoice is paying a visit to the UK this week. He’s a big Joe Dombrowski fan and we’re pretty sure he’ll have been thrilled with the Cannodale rider’s attack today. More of the same tomorrow please.
1 Mikel Nieve (Sky) 4:31:49
2 Giovanni Visconti (Movistar)+0:43
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +1:17
4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) same time
5 Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) s/t
1 Andrey Amador (Movistar) 54:05:50
2 Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) +0:26
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +0:41
4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:43
5 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) same time
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Andrey Amador (Movistar)
Point’s jersey: Giacomo Nizzolo(Trek-Segafredo)
KOM jersey: Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini)
Best young rider: Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step)
For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News
Header image: Mikel Nieve taking the cheers. © Getty Images/Luk Benies