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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 6, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people. - Isaac Newton

Current Racing:

Latest completed racing:


Giro d'Italia stage 1 team reports

We'll start with Bora-hansgrohe, the team of winner Lukas Postlberger:

For the first time in history of the Grand Tours a team leads all the classifications. Cesare Benedetti was in the break of the day and took the Maglia Azzura for the best climber. An unbelievable Lukas Pöstlberger historical took the stage victory and also the Maglia Rosa, the Maglia Bianca and the Maglia Ciclamino. The team leads also the team classification.

Today the 100th edition of the Giro d´Italia started in Alghero on Sardinia, the race took the peloton through the beautiful cost in the north of the island. The first stage covered more than 200 kilometers with 3 KOM´s (4 Cat.) and 2 intermediate sprint, therefore the stage favored the sprinters in the peloton and looked like that the fans will see a bunch sprint.

Directly after the start, a group of 6 riders formed the breakaway of the day. Cesare Benedetti represented BORA - hansgrohe in the day´s break group, which already had an advantage of 7 minutes after 40 kilometers of racing. In the peloton the sprinter teams, especially Quick-Step Floors, Lotto-Soudal and Orica-Scott controlled the pace as expected.

Cesare took the first two KOM’s of the day after a hard fight between the breakaway companions, which put him in a comfortable position in the fight for the blue jersey. Because the group was caught before the last climb of the day, with 3km to go, Cesare Benedetti is the first leader in the KOM in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

The final 5 kilometers took the peloton from big to smaller roads, with lots of changes in direction, technical corners and tailwind, a very fast finish was expected.

The thrilling finale started when Lukas Pöstlberger took control over the peloton and set up the pace. He went for his first Grand Tour victory in his young career and took in an exciting sprint the victory ahead of Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal). Due to his victory, he also took the Maglia Rosa, the jersey for the best sprinter and also the jersey for the best youngest rider. Tehrefore BORA – hansgrohe leads next to the team classification also in every classification at the Giro d´Italia, a novelty at the Grand Tours.

Lukas Postlberger

Lukas Postlberger gets the jump on the sprinters.

“When we entered Olbia we lost each other a little and the race started to become disorganized. Some guys attacked and I jumped to close for Sam. But behind me there was a gap then and I heard in the radio “you have a gap, go”. Somehow everything felt pretty easy then, like a flow. At 700m I was wondering why nobody overtook me. In the end, nobody came till the end and I won. I have no words for all this. It will take some hours or a glass of wine to realize was happened today.” – Lukas Pöstlberger

“It was clear that there will be a group right from the beginning. After we have no Leo here, our plan was to fight for everything we can get. I was told to try and go for the KOM’s today. When I was in the group I concentrated on those mountain sprints It is great to have a leader’s jersey here in the 100th Giro, I am so happy, but it was unbelievable to be on the podium out there with Lukas. What a day for us.” – Cesare Benedetti

Here's the report from Trek-Segafredo:

The sun shone in Sardinia for the opening stage of the centennial Giro d'Italia and a brisk cross-headwind kept the riders on edge all day and delayed the arrival of the peloton for the finish. It was a jittery bunch that roared into the final technical kilometers of the 206-kilometer first stage, a tad later than expected, and with a coveted maglia rosa on the line with the victory, hungrier than ever.

In the end, it was a shocking victory for Bora-Hansgrohe rider Lukas Pöstlberger who upset the sprinters with an audacious move in the final kilometer to grab his first pro victory and the first pink leader's jersey of the historic 100th Giro.

Arriving on his heels, the fastmen mopped up the minor places with Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) taking first of the bunch ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Giacomo Nizzolo.

"It was a surprising ending, but sometimes with a lot of corners this can happen and today that was the case," said Nizzolo. "There was nothing that didn't work; the team came to collect me, and I was in good position for the finale. It was a very technical finish and not having fantastic condition I knew I had to take advantage of the others' slipstreams and that's what I did. I don't think I made any mistakes, I just didn't have the legs. In these technical finishes, you have to make sure you are well positioned; I was there, but I am still lacking a little bit of condition."

Positioning has always been at the top of the sprint game for Nizzolo, and the more technical a finish always plays into his favor. After his lengthy layoff to injury, the Giro is only his second race start of the year, he will need time to find back his top form. But with a coveted pink jersey awaiting the victor today, there was no holding back the Italian.

"Obviously, when there's the ability of winning the maglia rosa, you aim for it, and you give it everything you can," continued Nizzolo. "Technically I didn't get anything wrong. I am satisfied with today, and I hope my condition improves day by day. It's not easy to go from the level I have to my very best, but I will try and stay calm and see if I can win something later in the race."

With Nizzolo not in his best form yet, Jasper Stuyven was also granted the chance to make the sprint and arrived in seventh place.  While Nizzolo counted himself out of stage two tomorrow, admitting it will be too hard for him, Stuyven will do his best in the hilly and long parcours.

"We both wanted to do the sprint today, so we did," explained Stuyven. "Tomorrow I will be on the limit, but for sure I will try."

Stage two will also be the first taste of bigger climbs for the GC contenders, and Bauke Mollema will have to be attentive on a category-two climb that should see a reduced bunch sprint for the finish.

And here's Team Sky's stage one report:

Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas both finished safely after a technical finish produced a surprise result on the opening day of the Giro d'Italia. Both of Team Sky’s general classification hopefuls finished on the right side of a late split in the bunch, with a technical run into Olbia causing issues for the peloton.

A tight right-hand corner caused a pinch-point with 3.2 kilometres to go, causing a large section of the peloton to come to a halt. Landa and Thomas made it through safely, finishing in the peloton with the same time as the day’s surprise winner – Lukas Postlberger.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider took advantage of the difficult final kilometres to push clear and hold off the surging peloton. Thomas (18th), Diego Rosa (26th), Salvatore Puccio (42nd) and Landa (44th) all finished without time loss, while Michal Golas, Kenny Elissonde, Sebastian Henao, Philip Deignan and Vasil Kiryienka all crossed the line safely behind.

After the stage Rod Ellingworth gave TeamSky.com the lowdown on what had, up until the finish, been a fairly straightforward opener. He confirmed: "It was all good. There was only one pinch point with 3.5km to go but we rode really well into that. You could see after that it was all lined out and it split up.

"It went perfectly to plan. I was doing the recon job ahead today and to be honest there was that one piece of information about that point out of 206km – that was it.

"The approach will be exactly the same over the next couple of days and we’ll be on the lookout for pinch points like that. Tomorrow is quite tough – the finishes are always tricky in the Giro."

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