Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez of the Katusha team took ownership of the leader’s pink jersey after winning the 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday.
The Catalan, a noted climber, finished two seconds ahead of Poland’s Bartsz Huzarski and Italian champion Giovanni Visconti at the end of the 186km ride from Civitavecchia to Assisi, which featured two short climbs in the closing 3,500m.
“To win in this manner is spectacular,” Rodriguez said. “I have to thank my team, who worked from the first kilometer for me. I have also to thank the team sporting director for his advice on where to attack, as if I had attacked earlier I would have been mistaken. I am overcome also to have got the pink jersey.”
Winner of the Fleche-Wallonne last month, Rodriguez showed all his explosive climbing abilities, leaving it until late in the narrow streets of Assisi to reel in Dutchman Tom-Jelle Slagter to ensure his first Giro stage victory.
For the 33-year-old Rodriguez, it is the first time he has worn the leader’s jersey and he is a full 17 seconds ahead of former race leader Ryder Hesjedal, with Italian Paolo Tiralongo third, 32 seconds back.
An early five-man breakaway built up a five-minute lead on the peloton, but Hesjedal and his team reeled them back in 6.5km from the finish.
Italy’s Filippo Pozzato, who fractured his right wrist while causing a crash at the end of the ninth stage, did not start on Tuesday.
Pozzato collided with Australian ace Matt Goss on Monday, bringing both men down and forcing British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish to take evasive action, but without apparently injuring himself.
Pozzato, the leader of the Farnese Vini team, later apologized for causing the crash.
TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
AFP, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA
Peter Sagan of Slovakia won his third straight stage at the Tour of California on Tuesday, surging past Australian Heinrich Haussler, who was runner-up for the third consecutive day.
Sagan sprinted into the lead in the last 100m, claiming victory in 4 hours, 50 minutes and 49 seconds, and extending his lead in the US’ biggest cycling race.
Sagan, of team Liquigas-Cannondale, had to swing wide to the right to finish off the 185.6km stage from San Jose to Livermore.
Sagan now leads Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) by 12 seconds overall.
Tom Boonen of Belgium, the world No. 1 cyclist, was third.
Jeffry Louder is third overall among the remaining field of 123, 24 seconds adrift of Sagan.
Defending champion Chris Horner of the US finished in the peloton for the third straight day and is 15th overall. He is 30 seconds behind Sagan.