Venezuela’s Jose Rujano of the Androni team won the 13th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday ahead of Spaniard Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank), who holds the overall leader’s pink jersey. Rujano completed the 167km in 4:45:54 with Contador right on his shoulder at the line and Frenchman John Gadret completing the podium after the ride to Grossglockner in the Austrian Alps from Spilimbergo.
Contador is still racing under the shadow of a doping controversy going back to last year’s Tour de France. The Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier said it would hear hear his case from June 6-8 after the World Anti-Doping Agency and world’s cycling’s governing body UCI appealed a Spanish cycling federation’s decision to rescind a year ban. But he has been able to shrug off the controversy and clearly has found his form in the Giro so far.
“It was tough,” the Spaniard admitted of Friday’s race, which he ended with a healthy three-minute gap back to nearest challengers Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas and Michele Scarponi of Lampre. “Happily, my legs responded well. I am very happy with the gaps made (on his rivals) even if there remain several difficult stages from here on in. The object was not so much to win the stages as to gain some time,” said the Spaniard, who said that he attacked 8.5km out as several rivals seemed to be on the point of preparing for a late charge.
“I decided to go for it. You never know what can happen,” added Contador, who indicated: “I think I prepared well for this Giro.”
Rujano, six minutes adrift in the overall classification, said he reminded himself in the final few kilometers of how on Sunday he had suffered mechanical trouble just 600m out from the line when seemingly poised for a win. “But today I understood I could get in there in front of Contador. He is a great champion. He has already won the Giro, the Tour, the Vuelta. I am very proud to win ahead of him,” said Rujano, who after various injury problems won the 2009 Tour of Colombia only to see his old team (ISD) not selected for last year’s Giro.
He thanked Androni team principals Gianni Savio and Marco Bellini for giving him a chance to star this year. Savio described Rujano as “the biggest talent to come to my group. His career is just starting.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 13
1. Jose Rujano (VEN/AND) 167km in 4:45:54
2. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) @ s.t.
3. John Gadret (FRA/ALM) @ 1:27
4. Hubert Dupont (FRA/ALM) @ 1:29
5. Igor Anton (ESP/EUS) @ 1:29
6. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) @ 1:36
7. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM)
8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ)
9. Vasili Kiryienka (BLR/MOV)
10. Denis Menchov (RUS/GEO)
Overall Classification After Stage 13
1. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) 49:40:58
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) @ 3:09
3. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) @ 3:16
4. David Arroyo (ESP/MOV) @ 3:25
5. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) @ 3:29
6. Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR/HTC) @ 3:53
7. Igor Anton (ESP/EUS) @ 4:02
8. John Gadret (FRA/ALM) @ 4:06
9. Matteo Carrara (ITA/VAC) @ 4:35
10. Hubert Dupont (FRA/ALM) @ 4:38