Tinkoff-Saxo and team captain Alberto Contador can take a well-deserved rest day after having defended and additionally extended the overall lead at Giro d’Italia on stage 15. Contador faced strong competition from Astana on the final climb to Madonna di Compiglio but managed to gain 7 seconds on main rival Fabio Aru.

Giro d'Italia 2015The fight for the win on stage 15 came down to just four riders, Contador, Trofimov, Aru and teammate Landa after a fast pace throughout the stage had whittled down the group and scattered the pre-race favorites. Mikkel Landa ultimately took the win on the mythical climb, while Alberto Contador kept his attention on Aru.

“Everyone would like to win a Giro stage, especially on a climb like Madonna di Campiglio, but the race situation was complicated. The gradient wasn’t exceptionally steep, which made it complicated, and Landa was very good, so it wasn’t to be. There is still a long way to go, and everyone has good days and less good days. Today, Landa was stronger than Aru – that much was clear. But, as I said yesterday, I have to look carefully at each stage and, perhaps, instead of defending, attack, if my legs allow it”, says Alberto Contador before adding about the stage with strong ties to the late Marco Pantani.

“I have a lot of respect for my rivals but I’m happy with the good sensations I have. It is true that Astana have two riders in-form and I knew that when the attacks began Landa was strong. It was quite complicated to control but I looked after Aru and looked after the GC. As for Pantani, he was an inspiration for me because I started late in cycling, and I remember that, after seeing him ride some stages, I went out on my bike and tried to imitate him on the climbs”.