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Deignan drops time on strade bianche

Posted 11 May 2011

Philip Deignan had a day he would rather forget on stage five of the Giro d’Italia over Tuscany’s famous strade bianche where he dropped more than 18 minutes to stage winner and new race leader Pieter Weening (Rabobank).

The Radioshack rider came through the first of three sections over the white gravel roads near the head of the race but lost considerable ground over the final 35 kilometres.

The 201 kilometre stage from Piombino to Orvieto was full of heroic performances with BMC’s Martin Kohler the star of the show having clocked up a staggering 180 kilometres at the front of the race.

Kohler attacked after just 12 kilometres and quickly built a lead of 12’50”. That slipped away as the stage wore on but he maintained a comfortable advantage of 4’56” starting into the first section of strade bianche 37.5 kilometres outside Orvieto.

The road conditions over the three kilometre long Croce di Fighine and 15% gradient helped the peloton to chip his lead to 3’26” by the summit as the race favourites took their place in a chase group of some twenty riders.

The road surface was equally demanding on the dusty descent where Rabobank’s Bram Tankink and Lampre ISD’s Przemyslaw Niemiec set off in pursuit of Kohler who reached the second gravel section with a crumbling lead of 2’42”.

Niemiec subsequently lost ground having overshot a corner leaving Dario Cataldo (Quickstep) to join Tankink as the gap to Kohler closed to 2’08” heading in the final 9.5 kilometre section with 24.5 kilometres to go.

The action behind was just as exciting as race leader David Millar (Garmin Cervelo) fought to claw back the 42 seconds that he was losing to the chasing race favourites while suffering the effects of an earlier crash.

Cataldo’s luck ran out almost half way through the section when he lost the front end and skidded into the ditch. Tankink’s was also left to curse his bad luck when he dropped a chain seconds latter leaving Weening (Rabobank) and John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) to counter attack out of the chase group which had swelled to 40 riders.

Millar’s determination was admirable over what remained of the section and his persistence was rewarded when he rejoined the chase group just as it returned to the tarmac for the final 15 kilometres.

Weening and Gadret worked well to continue chewing into Kohler’s lead and the tiring Swiss was finally caught with 9.8 kilometres to go. Weening wasted no time in making his move and peeled away from the leading trio after less than a kilometre.

He hung onto a 41 second lead as he hit the two kilometre climb to the finishing line while the chasing pack of fifteen riders swallowed up Gadret and Kohler. Thomas Lofkvist (Team Sky) set the pace on the climb where Millar ‘s earlier exertions were quick to catch up with him.

An attack by Michele Scarponi (Lampre ISD) splintered what remained of the chase group but Lofkvist was quick to reply as the chasers closed rapidly on Weening who dangled out front under the one kilometre to go kite.

The Dutchman’s staying power was remarkable and he crossed the line with a mere eight seconds to spare. The maglia rosa changed hands after Millar finished 2’50” down in the company of Kohler who had the consolation of becoming the new leader of the mountains classification.

Deignan reached the finish as part of the grupetto with the 37 riders including pre-race favourite Riche Porte (Saxo Bank-Sungard). His heavy time losses will leave him fighting for stage winning opportunities over the remainder of the race.

Results:

2011 Giro d’Italia

Stage 5: PIombino – Orvieto, 201 kilometres

1.  Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 4:54:49  
2.  Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Geox-TMC 0:00:08  
3.  Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli    
4.  Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
5.  Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
6.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
7.  Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard    
8.  Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
9 . Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team    
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana

178. Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack at 18 minutes, 49 seconds

1.  Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 14:59:33  
2.  Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad at 0:00:02  
3.  Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad    
4.  Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo at 0:00:05  
5.  Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team at 0:00:22  
6.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 0:00:24  
7.  Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD at 0:00:26  
8.  Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team at 0:00:28  
9.  Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard at 0:00:30  
10. Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 0:00:33

141. Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack at 18 minutes, 53 seconds

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