On course on the Giro’s 2nd rest day
Nine stages into this year’s Giro d’Italia, riders have been enjoying the second rest day. While Team Bahrain Victorious could not win a stage yet, it has two riders in the top10 of the GC with Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao. At the Tour de Hongrie, Edoardo Zambanini narrowly missed out on GC podium spot after a strong performance in the conclusive stage.
For the 105th edition of the Giro d'Italia Team Bahrain Victorious brought Mikel Landa as its GC leader and Pello Bilbao as a shadow captain. For sprint stages Phil Bauhaus could rely on the support of Jasha Sütterlin, and riding in support roles were the likes of Santiago Buitrago, Domen Novak, Wout Poels and Jan Tratnik. The race started with a three-day visit to Hungary, and joy and pain followed up each other in quick succession in the opening stage: While Pello Bilbao finished 3rd in the uphill sprint and scored the best stage result for the team thus far, Jan Tratnik was involved in a high speed crash just a few kilometers before. The key domestique suffered a hand injury that forced him out of the race two days later. As for the three bunch sprints that were contested so far, Phil Bauhaus missed out on a top5 result, finishing in 6th place twice and in 10th once.
Team Bahrain Victorious was most visible in the two hardest stages thus far, one finishing atop the Etna volcano and the other at the Blockhaus. In Sicily the riders in red, orange and black showed a strong team effort and Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao and Santiago Buitrago all finished in the group of GC favourites. As for the even harder stage to Blockhaus, bad luck seemed to follow the team at first, as both Pello Bilbao and Santiago Buitrago were involved in a crash only 15 kilometers after the stage, and soon after Mikel Landa also hit the pavement. While Landa escaped relatively unscathed with just some dirt on his jersey and soldiered on to finish the stage in 4th, Pello Bilbao suffered on the final climb and conceded over a minute to the fastest rivals.
For the Tour de Hongrie, Team Bahrain Victorious selected its two Polish riders Kamil Gradek and Filip Maciejuk, Taiwan's CK Feng, Bahrain's Ahmed Madan and the young duo of Johan Price-Pejtersen and Edoardo Zambanini. As for the first four stages, the riders in red, orange and black did not contest the frantic bunch sprints. At the very end a mountain top finish was to decide the GC of this race, and Edoardo Zambanini showed a classy performance here: the 21-year-old crossed the line in 5th place and finished the Tour de Hongrie in 4th place on GC, only one second behind 3rd place.
Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency