Alberto Contador takes back the Giro d’Italia lead

Spanish rider makes up gap on Fabio Aru during individual time trial

Spanish rider Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) in action during the stage 14 time trial  between Treviso and Valdobbiadene at the   Giro d’Italia. Photo: Luk BeniesAFP/Getty Images

Spanish rider Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) in action during the stage 14 time trial between Treviso and Valdobbiadene at the Giro d’Italia. Photo: Luk BeniesAFP/Getty Images

 

Team Sky claimed a second stage victory of the Giro d’Italia even as Richie Porte’s nightmare continued, but Spain’s Alberto Contador was the big winner on the stage 14 time trial as he stormed back into pink and opened up a huge lead.

Team Sky’s Belarusian rider Vasil Kiryienka claimed the stage win with a time of one hour, 17 minutes and 52 seconds over the 59.2km time trial, winning by 12 seconds from Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez, but the presence of Tinkoff-Saxo’s Contador in third, 14 seconds back, meant another big change in the general classification.

Contador surrendered the race leader’s pink jersey to Astana’s Fabio Aru on Friday after being caught in a crash late in the stage, but was the only one of the general classification contenders to make good of changing conditions during the time trial and he gained more than two minutes on all of his rivals.

He now leads Aru by two minutes 28 seconds after the 24-year-old Italian could only manage 29th place, while Etixx-QuickStep’s Rigoberto Uran, 23rd on the stage, also lost significant time as he missed what was seen as a big chance to put himself back into contention.

Porte’s miserable Giro continued as the pre-race favourite, already battered by a two-minute UCI penalty for accepting a spare wheel from a rival team and a huge time loss from Friday’s crash, was way off the pace, finishing in a time four minutes 20 seconds behind Kiryienka’s, down in 55th place.

With his GC hopes obliterated, the Australian could yet choose to withdraw from the race in order to prepare for the Tour de France, where he is expected to ride in support of Chris Froome. Team Sky are likely to change their objectives here to focus on defending Elia Viviani’s red jersey in the points classification.

The stage also ended Astana’s stranglehold on the top five in the GC standings. They had begun the day with three riders in the top five, with Mikel Landa Meana and Dario Cataldo well placed to offer Aru tactical options, but both riders lost significant time to drop down to seventh and sixth respectively.

Movistar’s Andrey Amador is now third overall, three minutes 36 seconds back, with Uran fourth, four minutes 14 seconds off the pace.

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