Spain’s Alberto Contador regained the overall race lead at the Giro d’Italia following the 59.4 kilometres individual time trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene, while Belarussian Vasil Kiryienka earned victory on stage 14.
Having parted with the pink jersey in yesterday’s stage, owning to being caught up in a crash, Contador was aiming to take back vital seconds on Italy’s Fabio Aru, the new leader.
The Saxo-Tinkoff rider produced an outstanding performance to finish third on the stage, but ended with an advantage of 2 minutes 28 seconds on Aru, having started the day 19 seconds behind him.
Contador is now the clear favourite to win the general classification at the close of the three-week race.
“The result is a big surprise for me, I gave it all I had, and paced myself carefully all the way,” Contador said.
“I now lead Aru by a good margin, especially after the fall yesterday, but I have to keep my head.
“The Giro is still long, today has been a good day for us, and now we’ll take it day by day.”
Despite Contador’s superb performance Team Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka finished 14 seconds ahead of the Spaniard to take the stage victory in 1 hour 17min 52sec, with Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez ending 12 seconds behind the winner to earn second.
Kiryienka’s teammate Richie Porte’s miserable couple of days continued after he lost a further 4:16 on Contador as any hope of a podium finish for the Australian evaporated.
The Australian had appeared well placed to amount a challenge for the pink jersey earlier in the Giro, lying third just a minute off the lead after stage nine.
However, his time trial performance in addition to suffering a puncture, receiving a time penalty and being delayed by a crash in recent stages has seen him drift to 16th position nearly nine minutes behind Contador.
Stage 15 will see Contador attempt to extend his advantage over Aru, with the high mountain stage between Marostica and Madonna Di Camiglio set to prove another test for the general classification riders.
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