Who would’ve expected that Jan Tratnik would pick Monte Zoncolan to try to take one more career victory on Giro d’Italia? Team Bahrain Victorious Slovenian rider and Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team) made this monumental Giro stage even more attractive until the very end. Both riders were part of the day’s breakaway that split on the ramps of the iconic Zoncolan ascent in the finale. Tratnik was the first to attack with about 10km to go, with only Fortunato managing to close the gap. Then, with 2.5km to go, the Italian debutant’s decisive acceleration at the Giro earned him a legendary solo win. Jan Tratnik came to the finish in second place, 26” adrift.
The steep and brutal slopes of the Zoncolan – with gradients up to 27 percent – seemed never going to end for Jan Tratnik, especially when he was chasing the race leader in the final kilometers. The Slovenian rider expressed his thoughts after an exhausting stage under heavy conditions: ” For me, for sure, it was the longest three kilometers in my life. It was just a never-ending story. So hard. I saw my rival in front of me all the time that little ahead, but it was simply the strongest one. Otherwise, I wanted to follow, but there was no power anymore in me for that cherry on a cake. As a team, we didn’t plan to go into the breakaway, but our tactics were to go to the front and be a safeguard to Damiano Caruso, our GC. It just happened that I was at the right place at the right time, and things opened up to me to go there for it. I gave my all, and I am really satisfied with a 2nd place”.
It was a good day for Team Bahrain Victorious. Besides the exciting ride from Tratnik, the team was delighted by the excellent ride of its captain Damiano Caruso. The Italian rider scored a top ten result, and above all, he maintained his 3rd place overall on a brutal day.
Damiano Caruso: “These steep gradients don’t suit me. Nevertheless, I was able to manage the situation. I think that climbing at his own pace was the best thing to do. I never faced the climb on the other side of the Zoncolan, but I hope to have never to ride it if it is like this one. It is an ascent worth of its reputation. No doubt”.
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) kept the Maglia Rosa and has shown resistance to the attack from Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) in the last few hundred meters. Yates took the second position in GC over Vlasov with 1:33, and Damiano Caruso kept his third position with 1:51 seconds behind Bernal.
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious)
— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com