Giro d'Italia Stage 16: Maes Takes a Chance in the Mountains
Fresh off a rest day, Nikolas Maes was part of a 10 rider breakaway that escaped 80km into the 174km race. The break had almost 12 minutes on the peloton at one point, in Stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday. The peloton never put much of a dent into the gap, which kept all of the riders in the break in contention for the stage victory in the final kilometers. However, Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) attacked within the last few kilometers and soloed to victory on the last climb of the stage. Alessandro de Marchi (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela) was 2nd and Stef Clement (Rabobank) was 3rd. Dario Cataldo remains in the top 10 overall, in 9th, 2'12" back from current GC leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team). Maes finished 8th in the stage, 45" back.
"Today I did my best," Maes said. "The first part of the race was really fast. As a team, we tried to be present in all the breakaways. Then, I jumped into the right one. We were a good group and we worked good together. I had good legs, but I have to say that the last climb was too much for me. It's a question of weight and attitude when it comes to the climbs. The first part of the climb I managed to stay with the best, but then I simply couldn't follow the pace of riders who are better than me on the climbs. However, I'm happy that I did it today. I'm in good shape, and with the difficult stages we will have in the next days, it was important to take the chance today."