Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Jon Izaguirre Insausti of Spain celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 173-km (107-mile) 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia from Limone sul Garda to Falzes May 22, 2012. (REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo)
By Alasdair Fotheringham
FALZES, Italy, May 22 (Reuters) – Second-year Spanish professional Jon Izagirre jumped into the limelight with a solo attack that earned the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider and his team their first win of the 2012 Giro d’Italia on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old attacked from a day-long break of 10 riders on a steep climb close to the finish to claim the win, the second of his professional career, on the 173-km stage.
Italy’s Alessandro De Marchi was second, 16 seconds back, and Dutchman Stef Clement took third. Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez, who finished safely in the main bunch eight minutes 57 seconds behind, remains the overall leader.
Izagirre, the brother of Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Gorka and son of Jose Ramon Izagirre, a former professional who twice won Spain’s National Cyclo-Cross Championships, said close calculation of his strength had enabled him to take the victory in his first Grand Tour.
“When I accelerated three kilometers from the line, it was on the only steep part of the course where I could be sure of getting away, and I made sure it was an attack that counted,” Izagirre told reporters.
“It’s a well-deserved victory for my team. We’ve been in almost every breakaway since the start of the race, and on the lookout for wins throughout.”
“I got in the right move, and made my move at the right moment. I thought my rivals might try to ambush me on that steep part but in fact nobody did – you could tell that we’re into the last week of the Giro and everybody’s got tired legs,” race leader Rodriguez, 18th in the stage, told reporters.
“It was a very fast stage in the first part for the favorites, we were going flat out for the first 80 kilometers and only eased back after the break got away.”
Asked about Wednesday’s 186-km trek through the Dolomites, the first of three major mountain stages in four days, the Katusha professional laughed and said: “Everything could happen, so could absolutely nothing. I hope to be in good shape. Somebody’s going to attack.
“Saturday with the Stelvio and Mortirolo, which are two legendary climbs, is the most attractive of these three stages in terms of cycling history and culture, but they’re all really tough.”
The Giro finishes on May 27 in Milan.