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Johann Tschopp fought all the way to the line on Saturday's mountain-top finish. (©Bob Cullinan photo.)
Johann Tschopp fought all the way to the line on Saturday's mountain-top finish. (©Bob Cullinan photo.)

Giro d'Italia, Stage 20: The Toughest Day

26. mei 2012

On the most difficult day of this year's Giro d'Italia, BMC Racing Team's Johann Tschopp slipped two places on the overall classification, from 11th to 13th place, with one day of the three-week race remaining.

Suffered To The End
The ascent of the Stelvio Pass, a 22.4-kilometer mountain averaging 6.9 percent grade, came at the end of the 219 km race. Tschopp initially had assistance from teammate Mathias Frank, who had been part of an early breakaway. But the former Giro stage winner said he suffered like never before on the final snow-lined slopes. "I suffered from a cold these last days and my neck is hurting, so it was a very difficult day for me," he said. "I fought and did everything I could, so it's a shame that this sickness occurred at this time because I was feeling good earlier in the Giro." Tschopp finished 17th on the day, 9:38 behind stage winner Thomas de Gendt (Vancansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) while Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha Team) kept the overall lead. Tschopp said he was disappointed to fall short of his goal of a top 10 finish with only Sunday's 30 km time trial to go. "I know I have the ability to get a top 10 finish in a Grand Tour, especially the Giro," he said. "I came this year with this ambition and it's a whole different approach. You must be present every day and just one day where you feel a little down can keep you from reaching your goal.