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Giro d'Italia Stage 15: Mikel Landa wins for Astana as Alberto Contador consolidates lead

Maglia rosa puts another 3 seconds into Fabio Aru as Giro returns to place where Marco Pantani was thrown off race

Mikel Landa has won Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia at Madonna di Campiglio on an afternoon when his Astan team controlled the stage, but race leader Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo extended his lead over Fabio Aru by a few seconds.

Going onto the final climb to Madonna di Campiglio, Contador was isolated from his Tinoff-Saxo team mates while Aru, who held the maglia rosa for a single day yesterday, had Paolo Tiralongo and Landa for support.

It was the Giro’s first visit to the ski resort since 1999, when leader and defending champion Marco Pantani was thrown out of race here on the penultimate day due to excessive haematocrit levels.

Today saw many riders suffering the effects of what has been a fast-paced race to date – today’s 165km stage from Marostica being no exception – and it was a select group that headed up the last climb of the day.

Aru, Contador and Landa traded attack and counter-attack in the final three kilometres, but it was Katusha’s Iuril Trofimov who briefly looked to have made the stage-winning move with around a kilometre left.

Landa attacked again and succeeded in overhauling him, however, with the Russian hanging on for second as Contador seemed content to track Aru before putting some daylight between himself and the Italian in the closing 100 metres.

The race leader finished 1 second ahead of Aru and also picked up 2 bonus seconds for his third place to take his lead to 2 minutes 35 seconds ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.

Landa, who currently lies seventh overall, said: "It's an important win for me and the team, because when you work the way we have today, a win like this belongs to everyone.

"There were three of us, we had numerical superiority, and we couldn't let the stage win get away," added the Basque rider, who joined Astana after Euskadi-Euskaltel was wound up at the end of the 2013 season.

"Our objective is to put Aru in the best possible position in GC," he added.

"We want first place with him, but we know it is difficult. Second place looks fairly safe, and we'll try to win this Giro using our superiority in numbers."

Following the stage, Contador said: "Am I the patron the Giro? I don't know. You are the ones saying so.

"I can only dedicate myself to giving the best of myself. Astana were very strong today: it was like a team time trial with me on their wheel.

"But my legs were good today and I would have liked to win the stage, thinking of Pantani, who was an inspiration for me, but there were lots of attacks and counterattacks and it was impossible to control all of them.

"I didn't speak to Landa, but there was no need to. He's a great rider, he's riding a great race, and I'm very happy for him."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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farrell | 9 years ago
aladdin pain | 9 years ago

Sad-making image of aching Porte clutching pillow and toothbrush, glumly surrendering RV to Konig (also clutching pillow and toothbrush).

cat1commuter | 9 years ago

Plus four bonus seconds for finishing third on the stage gives Contador seven seconds advantage over Aru.

HalfWheeler | 9 years ago

Odd stage.

Who do you support? The convicted cheat in the lead or the contender (plus the stage winner) from a team of cheats?

As PR for the sport goes is sure sucks ass...

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