Canadian Michael Barry came close to a win in a Grand Tour today at the Giro d'Italia. The rained soaked roads in Italy's south failed to stop team Sky's rider, rather it was the charge of Astana and HTC-Columbia.
Had Barry won, it would have been the first for Canada at the Giro d'Italia. He would have topped the second place of Steve Bauer at the San Remo stage in 1987.
However, Barry was not thinking of 1987.
"My plan was to represent Sky in the escape," he told Cycling Weekly of his plan at the start of the day.
"If we had a big enough group then obviously I would like to have gone for a stage win. In the end, we ended up coming pretty close, but just being represented up front was the most important thing."
Terrible road conditions helped the rain to flood parts of the final 50 kilometres north of the finish in Cava de' Terreni. This also caused havoc with the chase group behind, which split at one point and became a race of classification seconds.
These elements worked in the favour of Barry and his three companions. He began to think that what was a routine escape in a Grand Tour might turn into a stage win.
Considering his chances, he marked an attack by Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and the duo rode clear in the final 10 kilometres.
"In the towns, when it is a little bit sketchy, the breakaway always has a little bit of an advantage.
"Ignatiev and I accelerated really hard as we came into the last 30K, he was doing some really strong pulls."
Barry's and Ignatiev's day ended at 4.6 kilometres out, 216 kilometres after it started at kilometre 9. Instead of the sprinters hitting the front, it was classification leaders Alexandre Vinokourov and Cadel Evans leading for eventual winner Matthew Goss.
Their sprint for classification seconds continued to add to an odd Giro d'Italia, one with only one pure sprint to date (Tyler Farrar's stage two win), one where three escapes have succeeded, one where an Italian has yet to win a road stage and one where the mud of Montalcino may have more influence then the high mountains to come.
Barry loves it, though.
"I liked the stages like the other day, on the dirt roads. It adds something interesting to cycling and that is part of the sport, the challenging."
He closed the day in 58th and will continue working for leader Bradley Wiggins in the coming stages.
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit
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