Classic stage after rest day madness! Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) took a joyful solo victory atop Sestola with Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff) and BMC’s Darwin Atapuma completing the podium. Movistar sent Andrey Amador on a snatch-and-grab mission. Heroic defence by Etixx-Quick Step kept the maglia rosa in the team and onto shoulders of Bob Jungels. The BIG news of the day was Mikel Landa (Sky) abandoning the race through illness.
Rider of the Race
Oh my goodness, this could so easily have been award number three for Quickstepper Gianluca Brambilla. What a star he is and we’ll certainly sing his praises later in this post. However, we have a soft spot for neo-pro performances here at VeloVoices Towers and really – who could resist the absolute joy of Giulio Ciccone? Look at that little face! The name Ciccone has been heralded as the next big Italian climber in many quarters. A breakthrough fourth on a stage at the Giro del Trentino gave a little indication of his form, and he confirmed it today to take the biggest win of short career. Out in the 13-man break, the young grasshopper was stronger than his team captain Stefano Pirazzi, making the cut for the three-man selection on the Cat 1 Pian del Falco. Giulio then picked the perfect moment to attack before swooping away on the twisty descent, gaining enough time to see him home safe. He’s not satisfied with one either…
“We will all try again. We are here for stage wins and we won’t be happy with just one win. We won’t rest on our laurels; we’ll continue to fight.”
The Sky-fall of an ex-carrot
Sad sight of Sky’s Mikel Landa being comforted by team mates David Lopez and Mikel Nieve.
The biggest news of the day came very early in the stage with reports of Sky’s Mikel Landa being distanced on the first climb. The gap kept growing. Three minutes. Six minutes. Clearly there was something amiss as he’d been quite bullish at the start, saying he would like to attack if the opportunity arose. Sadly, that strategy remained unfulfilled as the Basque rider later climbed off his bike – his Giro over. Team Sky later confirmed their captain had become unwell overnight and was suffering with a gastric complaint. It’s always sad to watch hopes dashed in this way, and we hope Mikel returns to wow us in the mountains soon.
Etixx-QuickStep are having a GREAT Giro. Having seemed bereft of teamwork in their favourite Spring Classics playground, the Quicksteppers are riding for each other in ways that bring a tear to the eye of even the most hard-bitten of fans. Today was a brilliant example as Gianluca Brambilla rode with immense pride and passion in the maglia rosa. Distanced on the Pian del Falco as the GC teams forced the pace, he descended like a demon to catch the elite group containing teammate Bob Jungels. As Movistarlet Andrey Amador attacked again on the ascent to Sestola, Brambilla went to the front and gave the very jersey on his back to keep the gap down. His sacrifice ensures the pink stays with the team and we just know young Bob will do it proud. Here’s what he said post-stage:
It’s unbelievable. Cycling hasn’t seen this many times – this was very special. It shows the spirit of this team. We are a great group of friends. Two days ago I was happy for him that he kept the jersey in the time trial and now he worked for me and he’s happy I’ve got it. It’s an amazing team.
It’s the little tells…
Some say you can tell when a sprinter is about to launch by watching for the tell-tale tic in his calves as the fast twitch muscles start to contract. Sometimes it’s the look in an opponent’s eye or their posture on the bike that speaks of imminent action. There’s a new sign for the peloton to look out for now. According to Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang, when Andrey Amador pulls on his gloves you should be alert for fireworks on the descent.
1 Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) 5:44:32
2 Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff) +0:42
3 Darwin Atapuma (BMC) +1:20
4 Nathan Brown (Cannondale) +1:53
5 Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) +2:04
1 Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep) +10:19:52
2 Andrey Amador (Movistar) +0.26
3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:50
4 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) same time
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +0.52
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep)
Point’s jersey: Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal)
KOM jersey: Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini)
Best young rider: Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step)
For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News
Header image: Ciccone pops the prosecco ©Getty Images/Tim de Waele