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Vlasov rides onto Giro d’Italia podium after stage 9 GC battle – Astana

Vlasov rides onto Giro d’Italia podium after stage 9 GC battle

Aleksandr Vlasov showed his strength in the latest General Classification battle on stage nine of the Giro d’Italia to finish in third place on the brutal gravel summit finish.

Vlasov’s impressive performance sees him move onto the Giro d’Italia podium in third overall, 21 seconds behind stage winner and new race leader Egan Bernal.

“It was a great experience for me on this kind of final. It was a very tough summit especially because of the gravel section. I tried to attack in the final and I think it was a good move, but it was a bit difficult for me to hold the bike stable on this surface. My legs worked really well and I felt good, but the gravel was a hard challenge anyway. I am happy with my performance and I did all I could on this type of finish. So, I am happy so far and let’s see how it will be tomorrow and after the first rest day,” said Vlasov.

The battle for the breakaway played out for more than one hour with Astana – Premier Tech active at the front of the race and present in all of the moves. With attack after attack reeled in, eventually 17 riders were able to go clear with Spanish road race champion Luis Leon Sanchez in the mix.

With four climbs on the menu, the peloton controlled the breakaway’s advantage and on the category 2 Ovindoli climb, the breakaway began to split. Behind, Vlasov was well protected by his teammates in the reduced bunch as the pace picked up approaching the finale.

Sanchez was reeled in by the peloton inside the last 10 kilometres at which point the lone leader was just over one minute ahead. But the difficult finale and gravel sector played into the hands of the GC contenders who made the catch with 400 metres to go after a strong attack by Vlasov.

With riders dropped on the gravel, Bernal launched what would be the winning move while behind, Vlasov dug deep to respond. Vlasov fought hard to remain third on the road in the final 200 metres, crossing the line seven seconds down on Bernal.

Race Profile

Giro d’Italia

Stage 9 Castel di Sangro > Campo Felice (158km)

Top 3: 1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), 2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek – Segafredo), 3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana – Premier Tech)

Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 3. Aleksandr Vlasov, 45. Harold Tejada, 52. Vadim Pronskiy

Photo: Getty Images

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.com

Tratnik 5th on Stage 4 as Landa makes first move in the battle for GC

Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia didn’t disappoint as the GC battle was brought to life by Mikel Landa on the final climb. It was a long and gruelling day in the saddle from Piacenza to Sestola, with riders taking on 187km in the pouring rain.

The stage started with an early breakaway of over 20 riders, including Jan Tratnik. The break saw two riders attack with the gap from the peloton going over 6 minutes as they took a minute over the rest of the breakaway.

With 20km to go, and on the final descent, Bahrain Victorious took control with the descending expertise of Matej Mohorič while Rafael Valls pushed the pace on the climbs causing riders to fall off the back of the group. The opportunity came with 4km to go, and Landa was the first of the GC favourites to attack, dropping some of the big favourites.

The accelerations came a bit too late for the stage victory, but it ignited the GC. Tratnik held on to 5th after being in the breakaway all day, while Landa took time off some of his rivals in the GC.

Giro d’Italia 2021 – 104th Edition – 4th stage Piacenza – Sestola 187 km – 11/05/2021 – Jan Tratnik (SLO – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Tommaso Pelagalli/BettiniPhoto©2021

Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) managed to win the stage in the breakaway while Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up) moved into the Maglia Rosa.

Gorazd Štangelj, Head Sports Director, commented on the strong ride from the team today:
“Let’s say that today’s stage was a kind of strange one. This morning, we knew that it might be difficult to predict what would happen in a stage like that and riding this kind of stage under heavy rain and hard conditions. Everybody was sure that the Maglia Rosa would get a new owner, so nobody could’ve been sure who will control the race and what will happen. It was normal that 25 riders went in a breakaway out of, let’s say, potential and possible GC, and I maybe do not completely agree with the tactics of some strong teams, but then, we did our race. In the end, I may say that we tried to race in the best possible way to arrive in the finale aggressively. We were aware that Mikel had good legs and that we have a strong team, and I find it important to mention that Jan Tratnik managed to go successfully in the breakaway and had a great race. But unfortunately, the final kilometres were a bit too steep for him to bring home something more. The whole team did a great job today, and all our riders did their job, and even more than that was. We really rode as one”.

Mikel Landa shared his thoughts after the stage: “It was all day up and down, and the weather also made the race difficult. In the end, I look at my rivals, and I didn’t see looking good faces around me, so I tried. After the stage, I can smile, but 20 km before the finish line, I didn’t smile at all. I hope to recover a bit, and then we will have to face a challenging stage again, tomorrow and further on”.

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious)

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com