The final day of action at the Giro Valle d’Aosta saw the peloton head for the mountains once again, and a challenging 120 kilometre route from Valtournenche to Cervinia. A clichéd day of two halves, the opening portion of the stage took on a downhill section and more hilly terrain; while the final 60 kilometres contained three hard ascents, including the finish at almost 2000 metres altitude.
It was a fast start to the stage with lots of attacks with a five rider group going clear, before a counter attack flew from the bunch that included Oscar Onley. The two groups of five eventually joined up, forming a strong break of ten while behind the peloton set tempo. Working well together, the breakaway had increased their advantage to around five minutes and 30 seconds as the trio of climbs began in the latter half of the race. Holding their strong pace the group whittled down in size and heading onto the final long ascent with 20 kilometres to go Onley was out front alongside five others; while back in the peloton Lorenzo Milesi and Max Poole were riding well together.
The attacks started in the breakaway but Onley kept a cool head, riding at his own tempo before putting in his own attack to bridge to lone leader Calzoni. The duo continued to work well together but at four kilometres to go Onley sensed a lull in pace and put in a stinging attack; going solo. Meanwhile in the peloton which was four minutes behind, Milesi increased the tempo with Poole in his wheel; shredding riders from the back of the group before Poole himself put in a stinging attack which only Martinez, Thompson and Gloag could follow.
Out front Onley continued at his own tempo all the way to the line where he had enough time to sit up, raise his arms aloft and celebrate a wonderful win – his first in the U23 ranks and with the team. Behind, Poole kept the pace high in the group and ultimately came across the line in eighth place; a result which also sees him move up to sixth on the GC for the team too; rounding out a pure display of cycling from Team DSM’s Development program.