Giro d'Italia 2015: Riders pay the penalty as climbs take their toll

Team Sky leader Leopold König among 16 riders punished for holding on to motorbikes or cars for too long on the gruelling route

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The Independent Online

Alberto Contador maintained his grip on the overall lead in the Giro d’Italia as Sacha Modolo won a bunch sprint at the end of the 17th stage for his second victory in this year’s race.

However, the difficulty of the climbs in Tuesday’s stage was reflected today when Team Sky leader Leopold König was among 16 riders punished by race officials for holding on to motorbikes or cars for too long on the gruelling route that took in the Passo di Mortirolo.

König received a 10-second time penalty on his general classification and five points in the points classification, yet he remains in sixth place overall.

A superb lead-out from Modolo’s Lampre-Merida team helped him to beat Giacomo Nizzolo by a bike length to win the 134-kilometre (83-mile) leg from Tirano to Lugano, Switzerland, which featured just one category three climb. Nizzolo edged out Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec on the line.

There was no change in the overall standings, in which Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) leads Mikel Landa (Astana) by 4min 2sec, with Fabio Aru (Astana) third, 4:52 behind.

Contador said: “Stage 16 was much more wearing than I would have liked, but now I’m one day closer to Milan.”

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