After yesterday’s shock of losing Mikel Landa on Stage 5, today Team Bahrain Victorious turned their fortunes around with Gino Mäder winning from the breakaway.
The 160-kilometre stage started in Grotte di Farassi and finished on the summit of San Giacomo. An early breakaway of five riders formed, including Gino Mäder and Matej Mohorič, on another day in tough conditions.
Gino was able to stay clear in the break coming onto the final climb of the stage with only two other riders with him after great help from Mohorič. With 3.5 kilometres remaining, Gino launched his attack to go for the win. Gino’s gap from the GC favourites started to fall as they picked up the pace and looked for the stage win. With the time dropping, the fears of a repeat of Stage 7 at Paris-Nice looked possible, but this time he proved too strong and held out for the win.
Damiano Caruso also managed to stay with the favourites and keep the fight alive in the GC, moving into 7th overall.
Gino Mäder‘s victory also moves him into the Maglia Azzurra, as leader of the best climber’s classification:
“Yesterday was a really sad day to lose Mikel due to the crash. We had some new goals today, as we do not have to protect Mikel anymore. So we wanted to race aggressively. We wanted to take part in the race differently and go for a breakaway, and I had Matej with me in the day’s breakaway. He did incredible work, and he believed in me. He already believed in me yesterday and told me this is your stage to win. I’m just really happy that it paid off and that we could finish it like this today.
Actually, what I learned from my past races is if you’re not the strongest, you have to go in a breakaway to have a chance to do something. You can’t influence the way the other guys are racing, so as soon as you have an opportunity to go for a victory, you have to play your cards, and you have to go all the way to the finish line. The only thing you can influence is your power, speed, and so on, be focused, and not lose any energy thinking about the other guys.
Regarding our following stages on Giro, we had a discussion today in the bus. My humble opinion is that we keep on racing aggressively, we keep on taking the opportunities that we get, and if it is that I can join a breakaway again, I’m surely going to try for it. If I have to work for somebody else, I’m pleased to do so and enjoy the Giro, which is the most beautiful race in the world for me, and it’s the race I always dreamed of. I can enjoy this great opportunity and make the best out of it and achieve for Team Bahrain Victorious”.
After all that happened with Mikel yesterday, we were super determined today to prove our point that we are going strong. We are going well for this Giro. Today was Gino’s turn to go in the breakaway and try to win the stage, and I was there to help him out. I worked as hard as I could to keep the advantage as big as possible. Even with the Team Ineos working in the back, we managed to get a big enough advantage that Gino could finish the work off. We are super proud of this. It was perfect teamwork today, and I’m sure we will have more success in this Giro, and we also look forward to the following stages”.
Damiano Caruso moved up to 7th place overall, with a gap of 39″ to the new Maglia Rosa Valter Attila (Groupama- FDJ)
“We started this stage aggressively. We’ve sent two guys in the breakaway, and also, on the back, we were quite good. I was super happy about today’s victory. It is the best present for what we can have for the team, and also my performance was quite well, and I know that I’m in great condition at the moment. It’s one of the best days of my career so far. We are aligned, solving bad luck and issues we had yesterday. I am still sure that everything is going ok and will be so until Milano”.
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious)
— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com