Aru, Aru, now whatcha gonna do?
Apparently the young Italian, just 23, has already gone on record saying at his age, second in a grand tour to Alberto Contador is a pretty good result. No argument there and his time will come.
It did not however come today on stage 15 in the Dolomites. Aru had his usual Astana delivery service working for him, 3-5 guys all pushing the pace up Madonna di Campiglio. Meanwhile Contador only had his two legs for assistance and fortunately his legs never give up.
The Spaniards didn’t appear to be under any pressure whatsoever, as he patiently watched Astana burn through their matches. When Aru finally put in an attack in the final kilometer, Contador promptly shut it down and then jumped ahead to take third place and bonus seconds.
He now leads Aru by 2:35 and nobody else is even within four minutes. His challenge for the next mountain stages is to keep his mind on the Giro and let let his mind wander over to France, July, where to attack Froome. (Don’t be surprised if you see a Tour de France stage preview guide in his back jersey pocket.)
Pre-race favorites Richie Porte of Sky tumbled further down the GC, losing another seven minutes or so. A sad, sad grand tour ending after a fantastic start to his season. He has certainly had his bad luck in grand tours of the French and Italian variety. At this very moment, Sky mathematicians are hard at work creating an anti-misfortune algorithm.
Only his buddy Chris Froome can be somewhat hopeful, knowing Porte may yet drop out of the Giro and join him at the Tour de France in fresher shape. Sky still says that Richie will finish out the Giro but is that really the right choice?
As the Inner Ring likes to say, “spare a thought” for Rigoberto Uran. Runner-up last year and loaded with optimism for this Giro, the Colombian is in free fall. He lost 7:30 today and that must be a miserable feeling. Not much fun at the Etixx dinner table in the evening. It may be time to crack the red wine and call it a disaster.
The real stories now are whether Andrey Amador can hold onto third overall all the way to Milan. He’s got 27 seconds over Astana’s Mikel Landa and the Spaniard is fully employed working for his captain Aru.
Then there is Sky option 2, Leopold Konig. At 6:36 back and in sixth place, he’s got over two minutes to make up in the Dolomites to crawl into third place. That would be sweet for Sky and if Richie Porte sticks around, his job is to move the Czech up the standings.
Aru has a powerful team but not quite the personal horsepower, the wattage necessary to beat Contador. He’s box up, headed to Milan in second place.