Fraile breaks duck to win grand tour af­ter thriller

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BAGNO DI ROMAGNA: Spa­niard Omar Fraile broke his grand tour duck with vic­tory in a thrilling 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wed­nes­day that ended the hopes of Bri­tain’s Geraint Thomas.

Tom Du­moulin re­tained the pink jer­sey af­ter a 161 km ride from Florence to Bagno di Romagna that saw the Dutch­man and his Sun­web team pushed all the way be­fore he main­tained his over­all race lead of 2min 23sec on 2014 cham­pion Nairo Quin­tana (Mo­vis­tar).

Italy’s two-time and de­fend­ing cham­pion Vin­cenzo Nibali (Bahrain), who saw team­mate Franco Pel­li­zotti crash but get back on his bike, re­mains fifth over­all at 2:47 as the con­tenders for the “maglia rosa” looked for­ward to two days of com­par­a­tive rest on stages 12 and 13, which are more suited to sprint­ers.

The over­all vic­tory hopes of Sky rider Thomas, whose bid more or less ended when he lost over five min­utes in a crash on Satur­day, now look con­clu­sively over af­ter the Welsh­man fin­ished 2min 25sec in ar­rears to drop to over six min­utes be­hind Du­moulin.

De­spite his sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage fol­low­ing vic­tory in the 10th stage time trial on Tues­day, Du­moulin had to rely on his team to chase down and con­trol a num­ber of at­tacks.

He was quick to pay trib­ute, giv­ing Sun­web and in par­tic­u­lar rider Lau­rens ten Dam the thumbs-up as he crossed the fin­ish line to thank them for keep­ing the threats to a min­i­mum.

“We ex­pected a re­ally hard fight to­day, and it was,” said Du­moulin, who pushed Quin­tana into sec­ond when he fin­ished 49 sec­onds ahead of sec­ond-placed Thomas on Tues­day.

“We ex­pected guys to at­tack on the first climb, and they did. All I can do is thank my team. They al­ways kept it within dis­tance. It was a re­ally good day, I’m re­ally happy.”

He added: “Lau­rens is our old war­rior, he’s get­ting bet­ter with age. Like a good wine.” AFP

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