After being set up well by the team and attacking from far out, Gianmarco Garofoli conquered the mountains for Development Team DSM in Italy today.
With yesterday’s tough opening day in the mountains behind them, the challenging terrain continued at the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta – Mont Blanc today with another brutal day in the saddle and almost 4500 metres of climbing. It was a fast start to the day with a lot of attacks, before a break of nine riders escaped with all Development Team DSM riders in the peloton, riding well together as a group.
As the kilometres ticked by, the gap to those ahead diminished on the Col Tsecore, where it was all together. Gianmarco Garofoli attacked on the climb and went solo on the descent, building up an advantage of 40 seconds over two chasers before he started the climb of Col Saint-Pantaléon, which averaged a leg-sapping seven percent for 16 kilometres. Riding at a really strong tempo, Garofoli continued to press on the pedals and increased his lead over the chasers. Behind, Henri Vandenabeele launched out of the peloton and set off in pursuit of teammate Garofoli, cresting the climb roughly two minutes and 30 seconds behind, with the reduced chasing group a further minute back.
After a fast descent, Garofoli increased his lead going onto the final climb, while Vandenabeele showed his bike handling skills by doing some on-bike stretches, suffering from mild cramps during what was an incredibly hard stage. From that point the road only headed upwards, as the riders climbed towards the finish in Breuil Cervinia. Out front Garofoli continued to give it his all, as did Vandenabeele who was joined by three other chasers on the steep slopes as they made their way into the final five kilometres.
Pushing all the way to the line, Garofoli was able to sit up and celebrate at the finish, raising both arms aloft as he took the stage win for the team. Behind, Vandenabeele continued to ride at his own strong pace, coming across the line in fifth and making it a double top five for the team on the day. Today’s result also sees Garofoli move into second place on GC ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.