Mikel Landa (Movistar ) blew the group of favourites apart in stage 13 and gained 1-41 minutes at Lago Serrù, a “morale boost going forward” to the next mountain stages in the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
The Basque rider shot free with 15.7 kilometres to race in the 20km climb to Lago Serrù at 2247 metres.
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“From the car they told me on the radio that the gap was around a minute and a half,” Landa explained.
“Together with the half minute gained at Pinerolo [stage 12], I have to be happy, especially because I saw my rivals a little weaker and more accessible, which gives morale going forward.”
Landa shot free in a well-orchestrated move by the Spanish WorldTour team. He linked up with Hector Carretero and Andrey Amador who were in the earlier escape with eventual stage winner Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin).
“I am proud of the work and sacrifice of my helpers,” he said. “They made a great effort on my behalf, I cannot complain at all about the result.
“Montoso [in stage 12] seemed more difficult to manage than Lago Serrù with an attack from distance, and this Saturday we have another opportunity on the way to Mont Blanc.”
Landa lost time earlier in the race due to a crash and the time trials. Today, his 1-41-minute gains put him further in the mix. Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) leads the race, but Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) is the top favourite to win the overall next weekend in Verona. Behind him, Landa is at 2-43 minutes.
After attacking on stages 12 and 13, Landa promises more of the same.
“Although from the beginning it was complicated by the time I lost in the time trials and the enormous strength of my opponents. A lot of us want to win, and only one can be crowned as the winner of the Giro on the last day,” he continued.
“I’ll continue to attack until the legs hold. I hope my energy holds until Verona, but it seems too soon to speak. The Giro can change easily from one stage to another, and I must go from day to day. The good thing is to have confidence from good performances. I will continue in this way, no doubt about it.”