Oropa, 24 maggio 2014 - In the final metres of the 11 km climb up to Oropa today, Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani CSF) caught and past the remnants of the breakaway to win stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia today at Oropa. Dario Cataldo (Team Sky) and Jarlinson Pantano (Team Colombia) had been battling for the stage win, but had to settle for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Behind them, a spate of accelerations by some of the favourites for overall victory saw the General Classification change by handfuls of seconds.
Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) retained the Maglia Rosa, but his advantage was reduced to 32 seconds over Cadel Evans, who still lies second. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team), Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale), Wilco Kelderman (Belkin-Pro Cycling Team) and Rafał Majka (TInkoff Saxo) finished in that order, with small intervals between them. All gained a matter of seconds on Urán and Evans.
Maglia Rosa – Balocco: Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
Maglia Rossa – Algida: Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.FR)
Maglia Bianca – F.lli Orsero: Rafał Majka (TInkoff Saxo)
Maglia Azzurra – Banca Mediolanum: Julián Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing)
After the stage, Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani CSF) and Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) spoke to the press:
Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani CSF)
Conviction: “After yesterday’s win, our moral is sky high. I didn’t attack in jest: I believed in the breakaway and it was always my intention to go all the way. I wasn’t out team’s designated rider in the breakaway: There are better climbers in the team than me, like Zardini. But the situation looked good and I felt sure that the breakaway would make it.”
The sprint: “I suffered on the climb, and on the hardest section, I couldn’t keep up. I had to go full gas in the last 500m and, when I got across to Cataldo and Pantano, I had to breathe for a second because I’d had to ride at 100% to catch them. Thankfully, they lost speed and I did a great sprint and managed to get past them in the final 30m. I looked around to make sure I had really won, and to see if anyone else was coming from behind.”
24 May: “This day last year, I crashed out of the Giro d’Italia, days after taking my stage win. So this is a nice way to get my revenge. And, in the Veneto region, 24 May is the day we commemorate those lost int he First World War. In general, young people tend to forget history, but we are very aware of it, and it’s nice to be able to commemorate in this way.”
Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
Never worried: “I had no problems today. The team was happy with the riders in the breakaway, and their lead. I had a team-mate [Julian Vermote] in there. I was surrounded by team-mates all day, so I wasn’t worried. The team was phenomenal today. The idea is to arrive at the end of the race wearing the Maglia Rosa. It’s no use showing yourself every day. You have to save as much energy as possible. This is a very open race, the hard days and the hard climbs still lie ahead of us, and I want to wear Maglia Rosa in Trieste.”
The coming climbs: “I know almost all the climbs that are coming up. I’ve trained on the climb up to Montecampione, even if I’ve never raced there.”
Quintana getting better: “I’m glad that Quintana’s getting better. We’re friends. We shared a house together in Pamplona 3 years ago, and sometimes we talked about what it would be like racing against each other in stage races.”