With Contador still in charge at the Giro d'Italia, Sacha Modolo picks up his second stage win
Mikel Landa took his second stage win of this year's Giro D'Italia on Tuesday but Alberto Contador produced a superb ride to finish third and extend his overall lead.
Spaniard Alberto Contador took a massive step towards his second Giro d’Italia triumph by increasing his overall lead on Fabio Aru after an epic 16th stage won by fellow Spaniard Mikel Landa.
Astana rider Landa claimed his second win of the race in winning the 174km ride from Pinzolo to Aprica in the Italian Dolomites, which took in no less than five categorised mountain passes including the notoriously difficult Mortirolo.
In what proved to be another small humiliation for his team leader Aru, Landa came over the finish line in 5hr 02min 51sec to move up to second place overall at 4min 02sec behind Tinkoff-Saxo’s Contador, who settled for third place at 38sec behind on the wheel of Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk.
— Giro d’Italia (@giroditalia) May 26, 2015
Astana team leader Aru finished nearly three minutes off the pace to drop to third at 4:52 behind Contador, raising further doubts about Astana’s leadership with several mountain stages on the menu before Sunday’s final to Milan.
Contador emerged a step closer to his second pink jersey after Astana ultimately paid the price for attacking the Spaniard when he suffered a puncture on the descent of the Aprica, with a little over 60 km remaining.
But with the Mortirolo to come and Contador having raced the notorious climb on his way to overall victory in 2008, Aru was a long way from safety.
Contador was 50secs behind but more worryingly for the Spaniard, on his own after losing his teammates one by one.
But Contador set about cutting his way through as the stragglers dropped from the earlier front group.
Although Aru was forging on with Landa, the Italian was soon to be left on his own too.
Contador finally closed the gap 5km before the summit, prompting Landa to counter the Spaniard and leave his tiring team leader behind.
— Steven Kruijswijk (@s_kruijswijk) May 26, 2015
By the summit, Contador, Landa and Kruijswijk held nearly a minute’s lead on Yuri Trofimov and Ryder Hesjedal, with Aru’s deficit now at nearly two minutes.
The gaps remained largely the same after the descent, with Aru suffering his own mechanical problem. Aru fought to limit the damage, but the grimaces on the Italian’s face spoke volumes.
Landa pulled ahead of Contador in the final metres to put a silver lining around Astana’s now seemingly doomed bid to top the race podium.