Spain’s Alberto Contador retained the overall lead in the Giro d’Italia after Saturday’s final mountain stage won by Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus.
With one stage remaining, Contador, eighth on the stage, holds a lead of more than five minutes over Michele Scarponi with another Italian, Vincenzo Nibali, in third place.
“The victory is getting closer and closer and I’m very happy about that,” three-time Tour de France winner Contador said. “A lot of different riders have been strong at different points in the race, but the key has been consistency throughout. Today was a very tough stage, there was a big break that went very early and my team had to work hard, but in the last part my only aim was to control the closest rivals overall and that went well.”
Saturday’s final summit finish of the Giro was won by Movistar rider Kiryienka, who dedicated his victory to his teammate Xavier Tondo of Spain, who died in a domestic accident on Monday last week.
Kiryienka attacked from a 13-rider break on the Colle delle Finestre, the penultimate climb of the day. Venezuela’s Jose Rujano was second and Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez third.
“This stage was just as hard as when I won in the Giro back in 2008 and I’m pleased I could win for Xavier on such a difficult, special day,” Kiryienka said. “It wasn’t easy for the team to continue in the race after what happened to Xavier. I’m happy to have won, but sad at the same time. It’s a great day for me and for my team.”
The race finishes with an individual time trial through the streets of Milan.
“I’m not going to be taking any risks on the corners or going flat out,” Contador said.
“Tomorrow [Sunday] is a day I want to enjoy,” he said.