ROME, March 10, 2013 (AFP) – Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez won the fifth stage
of the Tirreno-Adriatico over 230km from Ortona to Chieti on Sunday as
Britain’s Chris Froome moved into the overall lead.
Sky’s Froome finished in a group, including former Tour de France winner
Alberto Contador, just a few seconds behind Rodriguez.
That was enough for the Briton to wrench the leader’s blue jersey from
Michal Kwiatowski’s grasp as the Pole was distanced on the final climb.
Rodriguez attacked on the steepest part of the final climb with 1.4km left
and put eight seconds into the chasing pack, led home by Dutchman Bauke
Mollema with Contador in third.
“It was a stage that suited me but I didn’t expect it because I was feeling
terrible,” said the winner.
“I thought I had bad legs, especially after all the rain we had this week.
“This win really means a lot because there were a lot of good riders here
and it’s never easy to beat them.”
Froome finished sixth on the same time as Contador and now leads the
Spaniard by 20sec with two stages left, including a final stage time-trial.
“Contador lost some time yesterday and he tried to pull it back today. It
was very hard for everybody after 230km, nobody had much left in the legs,”
“Every day we come in with a pretty solid plan and it seems to keep coming off. That’s not a position you find yourself in too often so it’s a really cool feeling to be part of a team like this who can go out and not only stick to the plan but get a result out of it too.
“I had heard [Kwiatkowski] was slipping back which did motivate me a little bit more, but to be honest I was already going full gas.
“The team took it up with about 45-50km to go on the last couple of climbs and really ripped it apart. We put a lot of pressure on the leader’s jersey and I think it paid off at the end of the stage as he eventually cracked on that final climb and I was able to get a gap over him.
“It’s a great position to be in – defending. I’d rather be doing that then trying to gain time over some one. But tomorrow I’m expecting them to throw everything at us. I think the weather is going to take a turn for the worst too. The course is up and down all day so it’s not going to be easy for us.”
Italian Vincenzo Nibali came home in seventh, 17sec behind the winner and
is now third overall on the same time as Contador.
Kwiatowski drops to fourth after finishing 40sec down on the stage, while
Rodriguez has moved up to seventh in the standings, although with 55sec to
make up his chances of final victory look slim.
Both Contador and Froome, whose Sky team marshaled the pace with great
expertise, tried their luck on that final climb before Rodriguez made an
Results from the 5th stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, a 230km ride from Ortona to Chieti on Sunday:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 6hr 6min 43sec, 2. Bauke Mollema (NED/BLA)
at 8sec, 3. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) same time, 4. Mauro Santambrogio
(ITA/FAR) s.t., 5. Chris Horner (USA/RSH) s.t., 6. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY)
s.t., 7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 17, 8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (POL/LAM) 22, 9.
Roman Kreuziger (CZE/SAX) s.t., 10. Daniel Martin (EIR/GRM) 28
1. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 22hr 11min 53sec, 2. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX)
20, 3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) s.t., 4. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 24, 5.
Chris Horner (USA/RSH) 37, 6. Mauro Santambrogio (ITA/FAR) 52, 7. Joaquim
Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 55, 8. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 57, 9. Roman Kreuziger
(CZE/SAX) 1:27, 10. Sergio Henao (COL/SKY) 1:51