An untimely puncture derailed Jon Izagirre's challenge in today's 243km stage 11 from Assisi to Montecatini Terme, but it was thumbs up for everyone else on the team.
Mikel Nieve stayed with the pack to stay 35th on GC, a bandaged-up Iván Velasco got through the day after yesterday's crash, and Adrián Sáez made his mark on the race with a long day up ahead in the break of the day.
It was initially thought (by myself and the commentators anyway) that the Euskaltel rider suffering a mechanical inside the final 15 kilometres was in fact Mikel Nieve, but it turned out to be Izagirre. It could hardly have happened at a worse time for him what with the final climb coming up just up the road, on a terrain that would have suited him, and the youngster (who I've picked for my Giro-manager squad) crossed the line three minutes and 28 seconds down in 123rd place. No points for me in other words, but more importantly an opportunity missed for him.
Adrián Sáez, making his debut in a three-week race, wasn't frightened by the distance of today's stage and decided to give it a go alongside FDJ's Delage, Vacansoleil's Denifl, Lotto's Kaisen and Saxo Bank's Boaro. It was the latter who held off the pack the longest, but Sáez showed his strength by holding off the peloton longer than experienced campaigners Denifl, Delage and Kaisen. A brilliant experience for him.
Stage 11 results:
- (1, Roberto Ferrari (Androni), 6:49:05
- 37, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
- 41, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
- 96, Amets Txurruka, s.t.
- 123, Jon Izagirre, 3:28
- 160, Víctor Cabedo, 10:02
- 161, Iván Velasco, s.t.
- 184, Pierre Cazaux, s.t.
- 188, Adrián Sáez, 12:33
- 189, Miguel Minguez, s.t.