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.
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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