Racing recap

The highs and lows of racing | Giro d’Italia Week 2 racing recap

Giro d'Italia

This week at the Giro encapsulated the highs and lows of bike racing for us; going from jubilation after Alberto Dainese delivered a superb win on stage 11, to a low-point when fourth-on-GC Romain Bardet abandoned the race on stage 13.

Savouring the success from Alberto’s win, we can look back on that day fondly with everyone working brilliantly to be vigilant in potential crosswind sections, before delivering Alberto into a good spot where he showed the finishing speed that we know he has to take not only his first Grand Tour, but WorldTour level stage win, and at the Giro too of all places – a special moment for our young Italian!

Of course, there is a “what could have been feeling” following Romain’s departure as everyone in the team from the staff at our HQ to those at the race, plus the rest of the guys and Romain himself, all prepared excellently for the Giro to be in such a great position after the first half – only to be struck down by bad luck. Unfortunately, that’s bike racing and sometimes you just don’t get the rub of the green. Nonetheless, we can also take positives from it too, and take pride in our GC performance until that moment with the guys riding brilliantly to be there, so it gives us confidence that we can do it again at future races.

Overall the guys have rode well together this past week with the win from Alberto, strong performances on the punchy and hilly stages by everyone – not just our climbing block – and two good fifth places on stages for Alberto and Martijn. Looking ahead, the final week has plenty of opportunities to show our Team DSM jersey at the front of the race with pride, and we’ll look to animate the race and be active as we search for a more top day results and aim for that second stage win.

First though, let’s look back on this week’s action…

Stage 10: Pescara to Jesi (196 kilometres)

With a rest day behind them, the bunch were straight back into the action on stage 10 and a day that exemplified the “stage of two halves” analogy. After a flat opening 100 kilometres, the peloton tackled a plethora of climbs in the finale where an incredibly hard pace was set that dislodged most of the sprinters, setting up a battle between the GC riders and puncheurs for the stage win. Coming into the finale Thymen Arensman positioned Romain well for the finish but just as he opened up the sprint he got blocked, crossing the line in seventh place.

Speaking after the stage Thymen said: “Today was a pretty tricky and hot day. The first hundred kilometres were kind of easy, the boys kept a really nice position in the bunch. It was a bit of a nasty pace with the wind from the side a little bit, but that was all okay. We kept a nice position and tried to position ourselves really well for the hilly zone. There the pace went up and it got pretty hard. We tried to stay together and the boys did a good job to give me and Romain some bottles and ice, keeping us in a good position. In the final it really kicked off. Alberto and Cees did a great job to try and stay in the front group but on the last climb it was just an all-out GC battle, full-gas, so in the end it was Romain and I over the top. I saw some GC guys attacking and closed them down and did a lead-out for Romain where he took seventh spot. It was a good day, we survived well I think and the legs felt good.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GIRMAY Biniam Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux 4:32:07 100
2 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Alpecin-Fenix ,, 40
3 ALBANESE Vincenzo EOLO-Kometa ,, 20
7 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
22 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
40 BOL Cees Team DSM 1:02 -
51 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
52 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
53 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
116 DENZ Nico Team DSM 8:48 -
117 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -

Stage 11: Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia (203 kilometres)

Navigating a nervous stage fraught with crosswind danger Team DSM set up fast finisher Alberto Dainese for the bunch gallop into Reggio Emilia, with the Italian producing a brilliant kick to surge past his sprint competitors and taking an incredible win for the team on stage 11.

The team set out with two goals for the stage; keeping GC contender Romain [Bardet] safe in the potential crosswinds and setting up a fast finale. With goal one ticked off after some superb and attentive riding throughout the day, all eyes within the team switched to delivering Alberto into the best possible position. Fast speeds made for an intense and hard finale, but the team worked well as a unit, peeling off one-by-one with Romain acting as last man and giving his everything to drop Alberto in a good position around the final corner. From there, Alberto unleashed some incredible horsepower, kicking on the pedals and surging past the opposition, sitting up to celebrate his first ever Grand Tour stage win.

“It feels amazing, it’s a stage in the Giro,” beamed a jubilant Alberto. “Anywhere would be amazing but especially being so close to home it’s something incredible. I can’t believe it happened, I’m super happy. This morning the plan was to go for Cees in the sprint but we swapped on the run-in as he said he didn’t feel so good. I just tried to stay relaxed and follow the guys as best I could, they did a great job. It’s insane that Romain who’s sitting third on GC gave me a lead out into the last corner. That shows how much we really work as a team. In the sprint I was a bit boxed in, in the middle, but then I found a gap on the left and went full to the line and could come past everyone. I’m just so happy to take the win for the team.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 4:19:04 100
2 GAVIRIA Fernando UAE Team Emirates ,, 40
3 CONSONNI Simone Cofidis ,, 20
24 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
63 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
77 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
118 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 0:23 -
119 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -
121 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
142 BOL Cees Team DSM 0:53 -

Stage 12: Parma to Genova (204 kilometres) 

A day that looked perfect for the breakaway, stage 12 saw a massive fight to form the definitive attack of the day but eventually after over an hour of racing and 60 kilometres covered the elastic snapped. Following and patrolling the moves, Nico Denz found himself out front where he sat on before it became clear the break would fight for the stage win. Conserving all of his energy for the steep final climb, Nico climbed brilliantly and dug as deep as he could but just had to let go of the counter attacking quartet around 700 metres from the summit. With the chance of a top stage result gone, he sat up to conserve energy for the days to come, with the rest of the team coming home in the bunch or in the groups behind.

“We expected a big fight in the start and it was just that. It was super, super fast – I think for the first hour we averaged 53 kilometres per hour. We were patrolling to make sure no GC guys slid in there, and that’s how I ended up there because I just followed Wilco and then there was a gap behind. When they started attacking I fully gambled and waited for the last climb. I felt like I didn’t have my best day in the Giro today so I just put everything I had into the climb and tried to hold onto the group with Wilco and Mollema. Which I almost did but in the last kilometre I just exploded. It was clear that I couldn’t go for a top result after that so I just dropped from the group and saved energy for the next days.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 OLDANI Stefano Alpecin-Fenix 4:26:47 100
2 ROTA Lorenzo Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux ,, 40
3 LEEMREIZE Gijs Jumbo-Visma 0:02 20
16 DENZ Nico Team DSM 5:40 -
28 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 9:08 -
29 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
32 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
34 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
36 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
147 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 19:40 -
161 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -

Stage 13: Sanremo to Cuneo (150 kilometres) 

Unfortunately disaster struck the team on stage 13, as Romain [Bardet] had to pull out of the race due to sickness. Feeling unwell the previous day and his condition not improving overnight, the team’s doctor deemed it safe for him to start the stage and give it a go with the team providing all the care they could, but with low energy and still suffering from complaints it wasn’t possible for Romain to continue and he stopped the race. It was a tough blow for the team who had rode brilliantly so far to keep him safe and head into the second half of the race in fourth place on GC, just over a handful of seconds down on the lead.

As is the tough way of sport, the team had to quickly regroup and focused their efforts on what was a fast day in the saddle, as the bunch fought fiercely to catch a dogged and determined breakaway. Romain Combaud and Chris Hamilton both put in strong rides in the chase and it was eventually heartbreak for the attackers who were caught inside one kilometre to go. The team brought Alberto towards the front before he followed another team’s final lead out, taking a good fifth place on the slightly uphill kick to the line.

Romain commented after the stage had concluded: “I’m really disappointed to leave the race like this – we’ve all worked really hard to get here and invested a lot to be in the best possible shape. I felt really sick yesterday during the stage and it hasn’t gotten any better. We tried all we could to continue but today I had nothing left in me to get through the day. It’s really disappointing but we have a great team here and I’m confident they will continue this Giro in a good way with great spirit and hopefully some more good results. I wish them all the best.”

“It was really sad that we lost Romain today and after he stopped we tried to regroup a bit and ride together,” said Alberto. “We put a couple of guys in the chase behind the breakaway to help control the gap and bring it back. It was super close at the finish and I went for it in the sprint but today I could only manage fifth.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 DÉMARE Arnaud Groupama - FDJ 3:18:16 100
2 BAUHAUS Phil Bahrain - Victorious ,, 40
3 CAVENDISH Mark Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team ,, 20
5 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, 4
21 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -
36 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
93 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 1:47 -
104 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 1:59 -
121 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 7:44 -
145 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -
1005 BARDET Romain Team DSM -03:18:16 -

Stage 14: Santena to Torino (147 kilometres) 

Before the peloton rolled out of Santena, it was announced that Cees Bol wouldn’t start the stage for the team. The rest of guys soldiered on, on what would turn out to be one of the hardest days of racing of the season so far. Working well as a group, the team rotated through attacks well but eventually the move went clear with all Team DSM riders in the bunch. As the race headed towards the tough circuit, a team split the race to pieces over the top of a challenging climb and onto a tricky descent. Thymen and Chris found themselves in a chase group around 15 seconds behind the Maglia Rosa group but after a valiant fight, they wouldn’t be able to make contact again. With that in mind, Thymen sat up to lose some time on GC to hopefully allow him freedom to hunt for stage results in the final week for the team.

“It was a super hot and tough day,” explained Thymen. “I didn’t follow the GC group, so we then decided to go completely easy to the finish to lose some time, so that we can go for it in the breakaways in the last week. I think there will be some really nice opportunities coming up so I’m looking forward to it and seeing what we can do.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 YATES Simon Team BikeExchange - Jayco 3:43:44 100
2 HINDLEY Jai BORA - hansgrohe 0:15 40
3 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers ,, 20
19 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 10:41 -
33 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 21:51 -
79 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 31:39 -
118 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 33:29 -
125 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 39:43 -
144 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -
1006 BOL Cees Team DSM -03:43:44 -

Stage 15: Rivarolo Canavese to Cogne (177 kilometres) 

Another tough day in the mountains awaited the peloton but with the final climb to the line being the “easiest” of the three, it looked a good day for the breakaway to fight it out for the stage win. Knowing that, 70 percent of the bunch wanted to be in the move with everyone in the team once again rotating through the attacks, as the peloton fought for over 70 kilometres before the break formed. Thymen dragged a group of four riders clear on an uncategorised climb, while Nico and Martijn Tusveld followed a counter attack across. On the first ascent, Nico did a great job to set tempo as riders attacked before Martijn showed his descending skills and went clear with Van der Poel, bridging to lone leader Bouwman. Like the first climb, the second one saw another fierce pace set with riders making their way across to Martijn out front. Riding at his own tempo over the top, Martijn once again flew down the descent and made contact, forming a group of six as they hit the lower slopes of the final ascent. Fireworks immediately started and attacks flew, with Martijn once again riding to his own pace and not going into the red – pushing to the line to take a good fifth place, his first ever in a Grand Tour.

“The plan today was to be in the break and it was great to be up the road with three of us,” explained Martijn. “I could follow when things split on the descent and was then ahead in a group of three before others came to us. The last climb was not super tricky but there wasn’t a moment to take a breath as it was full-gas all day. Fifth is a super nice result for me here and I’m happy with how the form is.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 CICCONE Giulio Trek - Segafredo 4:37:41 100
2 BUITRAGO Santiago Bahrain - Victorious 1:31 40
3 PEDRERO Antonio Movistar Team 2:19 20
5 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 4:36 4
29 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 7:48 -
60 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 26:45 -
82 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 27:33 -
83 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -
112 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 34:48 -

Reflecting on week two as a whole we caught up with Nico:

“After the first rest day we were all motivated for the second week, with great ambitions towards the GC and the sprints, but we end the week with mixed feelings. Obviously, our GC ambitions fell through this week, which has been pretty hard for all of us – as we were all super focused and ready to fight for that. I think we’ve regrouped well and in the last days have shown that we’re not just here to ride around Italy, we’re here to race. Of course, we also had a great stage win with Alberto so the sprints are going well – and that was a super nice moment for all of us and especially Alberto to take that win at his home Grand Tour. We’ve switched focus now to try and go for the breakaways and hunt for stages that way. All six of us are in good shape and we’re all motivated for the final week of racing where we hope to have some more nice results and days on the bike.”

Through the highs and lows, we hope you’ve enjoyed the second week of racing at the Giro and are taking your own rest day ahead of a big final week. We’ll see you back on the road tomorrow as week three gets underway!

Team DSM