Aleksandr Vlasov says 'it was not easy to breathe' through dust on gravel stage of Giro d'Italia 2021

The Russian climber put in a very solid performance to move up to second in the overall standings

Aleksandr Vlasov riding into second overall at the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Aleksandr Vlasov has said it was hard to breathe through the dust on the gravel sections of stage 11 in the Giro d'Italia 2021, where he moved up to second overall.

Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) has been putting in a very solid Giro so far with an impressive time trial on stage one and some very strong rides on the climbs. 

This form continued on the gravel of stage 11 with his team working hard for the former Russian champion, as he even tried to attack the likes of Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) before being distanced by the Colombian and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the closing kilometres.

>>> Dan Martin says 'cycling is not worth the risk' after losing six minutes to Egan Bernal on gravel of Giro d'Italia 2021

Speaking after the stage, he told cycling website Wielerflits: "First of all, I want to thank my team-mates. They gave me the best possible support. The boys did a great job and we had a good day in this really tough stage. 

"I did everything I could today and the legs worked very well all day long. It was not easy to breathe because of the dust on the gravel strips, but luckily I got through."

Vlasov did lose touch along with several other GC riders after the first gravel section, but Astana worked hard with Deceuninck - Quick-Step to pull him back up. 

"The team did everything they could to close the gap quickly. After that, I was always at the front of the other favourites. On the last climb, I tried to follow Bernal's attack, but it was not easy. All in all, I am satisfied with my performance, because I know that the team and I have done our best. I am happy that I got through this stage without any problems.

"Now I want to concentrate on the next tough stages because the big mountains have yet to come."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.