Race report

Tough opening day of racing in the mountains

Giro Ciclistico della Valle d'Aosta - Mont Blanc

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

The Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta – Mont Blanc got underway today with a challenging 110 kilometre long stage, starting and finishing in the town of Pollein. Jam-packed with climbs, it was set to be a tough day out and an infernal pace was set from the beginning of the race. Oscar Onley infiltrated an early breakaway but they were brought back after ten kilometres on the opening, albeit uncategorised, climb of the day where a new nine rider group formed.

Development Team DSM, alongside some other teams, took control at the head of the peloton and kept the gap stable as the climbs and kilometres ticked by, looking to protect Henri Vandenabeele. Over the second categorised ascent the team stretched things out on the descent as they caught the break ahead, but were unable to get a gap. Proceedings stayed together as the race charged towards the back to back climbs in the finale, with Gianmarco Garofoli putting in a probing dig on the lower slopes, although on the steep gradients he was caught. Vandenabeele and Garofoli dug as deep as they could on the remainder of the challenging route, with the Italian leading the team home in the stage, finishing in 13th place and moving into the best young rider’s jersey.

“We showed some good team work today,” explained Garofoli after the stage. “First, with Leo and Oscar in the initial part of the race, then on the penultimate climb Pepjin made a really good pace there. Henri and I then tried to give it our best on the last tough climb. I tried to attack, immediately gaining a few seconds but in the hardest part I was caught. From there, I just gave my all until the finish and ended the day in or around the top 15.” 

Team DSM coach Bennie Lambregts said: “From the start of the stage the pace was really high. We had the race under control well though with Leo and Oscar, before Pepijn did a really good job on the third climb. It was incredibly steep, and Gianmarco was towards the front for us before it went faster and the attacks started. Henri had a bit of an off day and couldn’t follow the very best but he still dug deep as much as he could. Gianmarco rode really well to finish in the top 15 for us, and it’s an impressive result for someone who is in their first year racing at this level.”