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Deignan puts team first as Contador marvels at Etna

Posted 15 May 2011

Philip Deignan sacrificed his own prospects of a high placing on stage nine of the Giro d’Italia to provide support for Radioshack team leader Tiago Machado after the Portugese rider started to struggle towards the summit finish on the volcanic Mount Etna.

The Donegal man paced Machado over the final 7 kilometres of the climb as he worked to limit his losses to Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) who decimated his rivals with a virtuoso performance which saw him claim the stage win as well as the maglia rosa.
Deignan started the second ascent of the volcano close to Machado as the Lampre-ISD team led the pursuit of a nine-man breakaway who held an advantage of 3’16” after 90 kilometres out front.
The breakaway included his teammate Yaroslav Popovych, Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini), Mickael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma Lotto), Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas-Cannondale), Filippo Savini (Colnago-Inox), Mathias Frank (BMC), Joan Horrach Rippoll (Katusha) and Pablo Lastras Garcia (Moviestar) who caused the most concern having started the day just 22 seconds behind race leader Peter Weening (Rabobank).
An attack by Frank with 15 kilometres to the summit marked the beginning of the end for the break. Bakelandts and Visconti had enough left to reply but their advantage slipped to 1’58” by the 10 kilometres to go mark where Weening finally cracked in the chase group.
Jose Rujano Gillen (Androni Giocattoli) was the first to launch an attack out of the peloton just over a kilometre later with Bakelants simultaneously taking his chance to distance his two companions out front.
The injection of pace in the chase group had an immediate effect and Deignan was forced to drop back to support Machado as he struggled to keep pace with 7 kilometres to go.
All hope of riding him back to the GC contenders evaporated when Contador rocketed out of the chase group after another 200 metres of climbing. Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) reacted quickly and bridged to the Spaniard after 500 metres but the effort put him into the red and he lost contact soon after they picked up Rujano with 5.9 kilometres to the finish.
Rujano did an incredible job to hold Contador’s wheel as they breezed past Bakelandts to take control at the head of the race while local hero and big race favourite Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) waited so long to respond that he could have been excused for being shell-shocked.
Contador meanwhile settled into a spectacular rhythm towing Rujano to a 59 seconds lead as they reached the final three kilometres. His companion who had survived one earlier attack was spent when the Spaniard accelerated to shake him lose inside the final 1.6 kilometres.
Contador marveled over what remained of the climb while Nibali waited until he was on the fringes of the one kilometre to go kite to jump from the chase group which had slimmed to a dozen riders including Scarponi, Astana riders Roman Kreuziger and Stefano Garzelli, David Arroyo (Moviestar), Sivtsov (HTC-Highroad) and Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin Cervelo).
The effort was too little too late as Contador celebrated his dominance by soloing to a three second win over Rujano leaving Garzelli to bring home Nibali, Kreuziger, Arroyo and Sivtsov a full 50 seconds down.
The Spaniard heads into the first rest day with a 59 seconds race lead over Sivtsov having also collected a 12 seconds time bonus for his stage win. Le Mevel lies third at 1’19” while Nibali will now need to reassess his strategy heading into the second phase of the race with a deficit 1’21”.
Deignan finished the stage 37th having helped Machado to limit his losses to 4’47” thereby preserving an outside chance of making an ultimate impression on the GC having confined his overall losses to 8’34”.  
Deignan’s effort saw him climb to 96th in GC but at 46’14” down he will be looking for opportunities to ride for himself if he is to take something from the second week of the race which is made for climbers.
2011 Giro d’Italia
Stage 9: Messina – Etna, 159 kilometres
1.  Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 4 hours, 54 minutes, 09 seconds
2.  Jose Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli at 0:00:03
3.  Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone at 0:00:50
4.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5.  Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
6.  David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team
7.  Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad
8.  Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:00:59
9.  John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 0:01:07
10. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
37. Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack at 4 minutes, 47 seconds
General classification after stage 9:
1.  Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 33 hours, 03 minutes, 51 seconds
2.  Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad at 0:00:59
3.  Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo at 0:01:19
4.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 0:01:21
5.  Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD at 0:01:28
6.  David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team at 0:01:37
7.  Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana at 0:01:41
8.  Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 0:01:47
9.  Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team at 0:02:21
10.  Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
96. Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack at 46 minutes, 14 seconds

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