After another week of difficult racing in the 2015 Giro d’Italia, it would appear that the coveted pink jersey awarded to the overall leader is set to be worn by Alberto Contador for the remainder of the race. The Spaniard has partially recovered from a dislocated shoulder plus a Friday crash to claim a 2 minutes and 35 second lead from Sardinian rider Fabio Aru with any other hopeful contenders more than four minutes behind Contador.
Contador had hoped to maintain his record of never conceding a lead in a Grand Tour when assuming control of this year’s Giro at an early stage, but a multiple crash just over 3km from the finish of Friday’s stage at Jesolo offered Aru some hope. The Spanish rider was involved in the mayhem and his lead of 17 seconds was reversed to a deficit of 19 seconds at the end of the day, yet Contador appeared untroubled by the events.
The confidence pf Contador was justified by his performance on the following day during a 59 kilometre individual team trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene in which he finished third and 14 seconds behind stage winner Vasil Kiryienka. Aru was unable to match the speed and strength of the Spaniard as he finished the trial over three minutes adrift of Kiryienka to slide 2:28 adrift of Contador in the overall standings. None of the other pre-race favourites including Richie Porte and Rigoberto Uran were able to offer a meaningful challenge and they appear to have already conceded defeat after a series of unwelcome mishaps during the first two weeks of racing.
Meanwhile Contador confirmed his aim of winning a third Giro d’Italia on the road by finishing third at the mountain summit finish of Madonna Di Campiglio on Sunday, five seconds behind the Astana rider Mikel Landa. It was a day in which Aru was expected to attack Contador on the steep uphill finish but the Tinko-Saxoff cyclist appeared the stronger of the two riders with Landa seemingly in better condition that his Astana team-mate whom he was pacing up the mountain.
There are three further days in the mountains among the six remaining days of the Giro but it would be no surprise if Contador further extends his lead as he waits for his rivals to offer a serious challenge to his domination. Although the Giro is never easy, a fairly comfortable passage for the next few days will suit the Spaniard as he still retains dreams of securing a Giro-Tour de France double in the same year, the latter of which starts on July 4th.
With Fabio Aru showing few signs of overhauling his current deficit of 2:35 to Contador, it suggests that the 2015 Giro title is destined to be secured by the Spaniard but as this race has already proved, accidents may be the only means by which Contador can be deprived of a deserved victory.