Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Rogers wins stage, Evans retains pink

FULLY SICK, BRO:Michael Rogers’ victory continued the Aussie success at the Giro d’Italia after Michael Matthews passed the pink jersey on to Cadel Evans

AFP, SAVONA, Italy

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Rogers of Australia celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 11th stage of the 97th Giro d’Italia in Savona, Italy, on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA

Australia’s Michael Rogers won the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday as his compatriot Cadel Evans retained the leader’s maglia rosa.

Rogers, riding for Tinkoff-Saxo, came home 10 seconds ahead of the peloton at the end of the 249km ride from Collecchio to Savona after breaking clear on the final descent, 20km from the finish.

Giant-Shimano’s Simon Geschke of Germany claimed second place in front of Italy’s Enrico Battaglin of Bardiani-CSF and Belkin Pro Cycling’s Wilco Kelderman of the Netherlands.

For the 34-year-old Rogers it was a first stage win in a Grand Tour and his first success since his return to the sport following a positive test for clenbuterol last year.

Rogers has always claimed that his positive test was due to eating contaminated food and he was later cleared to return to racing by the International Cycling Union in time to compete in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic last month.

“It was one of the hardest rides of my life, for sure,” Rogers said. “At the top of the climb, I realized that most guys in the group were GC [general classification] contenders and this was the time to jump. So I went. From then on, it was all about keeping my head down, pedaling away and I guess I was a little lucky that the GC guys were probably looking at each other, hesitating a bit.”

The victory for Rogers, who dedicated it to his Italian wife, continues Australia’s fine record in this year’s Giro.

The Orica-GreenEdge team won the opening stage team time trial and Michael Matthews triumphed on the sixth stage, while Matthews held the maglia rosa from the second stage until it was seized by Evans following stage eight.

BMC Racing’s Evans was hoping to extend his lead of 57 seconds to Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran of Omega Pharma-Quick Step team in yesterday’s 12th stage, a 41.9km individual time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo.

“The time trial is always the race of truth,” Evans said. “We have had a difficult first week and this week — though we have had a recovery day and a short stage.”

“Now we have also had a very long and intense stage. I think that will probably have a little bit of an effect on the performances,” he said. “For me, it is one of the key stages and on paper it looks like it suits me. I go into it feeling pretty well, feeling OK.”

There were several falls on Wednesday’s stage and Germany’s Fabian Wegmann of Garmin-Sharp was forced to abandon the race along with Orica-GreenEdge’s Luke Durbridge of Australia.

Switzerland’s Steve Morabito, a BMC Racing teammate of leader Evans, was also hurt, but was able to finish the stage and is fifth overall.

Former overall race leader Matthews pulled out of the race at the start of the day due to injury.

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