French rider John Gadret (Ag2r La Mondiale) charged out of the bunch on a steep uphill finish into Castelfidardo to win the 11th stage of the 2011 Giro d’Italia on Wednesday afternoon.
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In dramatic fashion, the Frenchman attacked and overhauled the last remaining breakaway, Daniel Moreno (Katusha), with 200 metres to go.
There was barely a metre of flat on today’s short, sharp 144km route, which took the Giro gruppo over the punchy Abruzzo climbs before an uphill finish in Castelfidardo.
After fifty kilometres, an eleven-man group slipped away, notably containing third-placed overall man Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo) and former best young rider Steven Kruiswijk (Rabobank).
As the lead hovered at the two minute mark, Le Mevel spent an hour as maglia rosa before the bunch chased in earnest and gradually closed the deficit.
Moreno clipped away from the breakaway with twenty-five kilometres to go, joined later by Movistar rider Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar).
However, the pack chased fiercely and pulled the pair back in the final three hundred metres, which had gradients of eight per cent.
Former cyclo-cross rider Gadret shot out of the pack, past Moreno and held off the chasing Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini) for the best win of his career.
Meanwhile, Alberto Contador finished fifth to maintain his race lead. After his escape activities, Le Mevel dropped 13 seconds at the stage finish and slipped from third to fourth overall. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) moves up to third.
Before the stage start in Tortoreto Lido, all riders, team staff and spectators observed a minute’s silence in memory of Wouter Weylandt, whose funeral took place in Ghent, Belgium, today. Weylandt tragically lost his life on stage three of the race last Monday. Gadret dedicated his win to Weylandt.
Tomorrow’s 12th stage from Castelfidardo to Ravenna represents Mark Cavendish’s last chance to take his second win of this year’s race.
Giro d’Italia 2011, stage 11: Tortoreto Lido-Castelfidardo, 144km
1. John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale in 3-33-11
2. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
3. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli
4. Jose Serpa (Col) Androni Giocattoli
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana
7. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
9. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas all same time
53. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky at 1-02
129. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 10-06
160. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 15-10
184. Russell Downing (GB) Sky at 15-28
General classification after stage 11
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard
2. Kanstantin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad at 59 secs
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 1-21
4. Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-28
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 1-28
6. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar at 1-37
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana at 1-41
8. Jose Serpa (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 1-47
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep at 2-21
10. Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM at 2-21
66. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky at 35-12
103. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 59-13
152. Russell Downing (GB) Sky at 1-18-11
170. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 1-31-50
Lars Petter Nordhaug heads the escape group
Race leader Alberto Contador
Daniel Moreno goes solo
John Gadret celebrates his stage win
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Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule