Absents are always wrong, or so seems to say Richie Porte while raising his arms to the sky in Brentonico, alone. Giro del Trentino Melinda already found its boss: Fabio Aru could certainly contend the helm, but Porte took a neat win in sunny Trentino, his ninth of the season, and that clearly speaks of an athlete carrying the form of his life.
After Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya, Richie Porte looks destined to seal Giro del Trentino Melinda’s win, on the way to a very serious bid for the Giro d’Italia. He does not have the trophy in his pocket yet, as gaps haven’t been huge on Brentonico ascent, but the Australian gave an impressive strength demonstration, controlling the race on the Monte Velo, racing on his teammates’ wheels on the early ramps to Brentonico, and finally unleashing his kick: only one, strong attack that found no one able to respond.
Mikel Landa, Aru’s teammate and winner on the Bondone one year ago, was the last man to give up, but that was worth nothing more than second place. In third, Damiamo Cunego seems rejuvenated by new enthusiasm; then Konig and Colombian Torres. Porte is also the new overall leader, as Cesare Benedetti’s dream predictably vanished on the way up to the Santa Barbara. Richie now holds 24” on Landa and 42” on Konig. Among the most expected riders at the start, Hesjedal did not look sharp enough yet. Diego Rosaand Ag2R trio also feature among the day’s disappointments.
Anyway, Giro del Trentino Melinda is not a race you can win in only one day. Tomorrow, Thursday, the race will light up again from Ala To Fierozzo (183,8 km, starting at 10.30), with the Redebus Pass set to provide a great show on both sides: in fact, the descent is at least as tough as the ascent. Porte is the man to beat, but he certainly won’t get by easily.
“It will be a hard job – the World Tour leader stated afterwards – and Landa will be a very dangerous opponent – even though my teammate Siutsou was the strongest man of the field to day. I feel good, I have a very solid condition, and this win gives me a further boost: I know the Giro will be a different story, but I have already beaten both Contador and Uran this season. I have stepped up a level in 2015, probably because I am paying more attention to alimentation: one more victory tastes so much better than one more beer…”
Stage 2 classification (Dro-Brentonico, km 165,6): 1. Richie Porte (Team Sky, AUS), 4h36’37”, kmh 35,920, bon. 10”; 2. Mikel Landa Meana (Astana, ESP), +0:16”, bon. 6”; 3. Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Fantini, ITA), +0:32”, abb. 4”; 4. Leopold Konig (Team Sky, CZE) st; 5. Rodolfo Torres Agudelo (Colombia Coldeportes, COL) st; 6. Edoardo Zardini (ITA) st; 7. Dario Cataldo (ITA) +0:43”; 8. Stefano Pirazzi (ITA) st; 9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) st; 10. Jose Pimenta (POR) +0:49”.
General Classification: 1. Richie Porte (Team Sky, AUS), 4h50’32”; 2. Mikel Landa Meana (Astana, ESP), +0:24”; 3. Leopold Konig (Team Sky, CZE) +0:42”; 4. . Dario Cataldo (Astana, ITA) +0:57”; 5. Jose Pimenta (Bora Argon 18, POR) +059”; 6. Damiano Cunego (ITA), +1’09”, 7. Louis Meintjes (RSA) +1’17”; 8. Edoardo Zardini (ITA) +1’18”; 9. David Lopez Garcia (ESP) +1’23”; 10. Stefano Pirazzi (ITA) +1’29”.