Jon Izagirre made his Grand Tour debut as successful as possible today at the Giro d’Italia by winning stage 16 to Falzes. The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, only in his second year, attacked free from his escape partners heading into town.
It’s only the fourth, and possibly the last, successful escape of the race.
“Today was the last day for a break like this to work because the coming mountain days will be contested by the GC riders,” he said at the finish. “We worked well together because we knew it was our only chance.”
Miguel Rubiano (Androni) took the first in Porto Sant’Elpidio, Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol) won in Sestri Levante and over the weekend, Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini) won in Pian dei Resinelli.
Izagirre comes from a cycling family. Dad was a successful cyclo-cross rider and brother Gorka is also a pro in Euskaltel, though not racing in the Giro.
He’d been trying to help the team succeed in an escape for the first two weeks. Today, from the start in Limone sul Garda, everyone one was anxious. Only after 61 kilometres into the 174 kilometres stage, did Izagirre break free with nine others.
“We’ve been working and riding to form breaks this whole Giro, but it never happened,” Izagirre added. “It was very complicated to get into the break today, there were so many attacks.”
Once the proper escape was formed, one without a serious threat to the overall, the GC teams were happy to let it ride free. Overall leader Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and the other favourites are more focused on the three big mountain days ahead, including tomorrow’s stage to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Izagirre hit his companions on the last ramp, from 4.2 to 3.6 kilometres to race. His only other pro win came in the Vuelta a Asturias, a time trial. He used those skills and held off his chasers when the road flattened out in the final 1.5 kilometres.
“It’s too soon to say what type of rider I am,” he added. “However, winning in the third week is significant, though, it shows I can recover well.”
Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news
Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro
Stage 14: Amador wins Giro’s first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead
Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 12: Bak attacks to win
Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption
Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take lead
Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall
Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win
Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead
Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Giro d’Italia 2012: Blogs
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Conserving energy for the final week
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Holding on to the lead
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Getting the team time trial right
Giro moto blog: Hurray for rest day
Giro moto blog: Stage 10
Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide