SAVONA, Italy (AP) Michael Rogers took advantage of a downhill attack to win the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, while fellow Australian Cadel Evans retained the overall lead.
Rogers, who was recently cleared of a doping charge, attacked with more than 20 kilometers (12 miles) to go in the 249-kilometer (155-mile) leg from Collecchio to Savona, just after the pack got over a category 2 climb.
”I saw an opportunity at the top of the climb and I went for it,” Rogers said after the nearly six-hour ride.
The three-time world time trial champion from 2003-05 was suited to take advantage once the road flattened out for the final kilometers.
”From then on, it was all about keeping my head down, pedaling away, and I guess I was a little lucky that the GC guys were probably looking at each other, hesitating a bit,” Rogers said.
Last month, the UCI accepted that meat Rogers ate in China probably caused his positive test last year. Clenbuterol is widely administered to Chinese livestock to build muscle and reduce fat. Days later, he tested positive at the Japan Cup.
The UCI disqualified Rogers from the Japanese race but consulted the World Anti-Doping Agency before deciding he should not be sanctioned any further.
At the finish on Wednesday, Rogers held up three fingers for his three daughters, and beat his chest.
”I went through a very tough time but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Simon Geschke of Germany won the bunch sprint for second, crossing 10 seconds after Rogers, and Enrico Battaglin of Italy finished third with the same time.
Evans’ 57-second lead over Rigoberto Uran remained unchanged entering Thursday’s 42-kilometer (26-mile) individual time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo, which celebrates two of Italy’s best-known wines.
Before Wednesday’s stage, Australian sprinter Michael Matthews withdrew citing back trouble. Matthews wore the leader’s pink jersey for six stages and won the sixth leg.