12 Feb 2024

GC podium for Edoardo Zambanini

At the 5th edition of the Tour of Antalya Team, BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS followed up Matevz Govekar’s stage win with more strong performances. Edoardo Zambanini climbed to 3rd place in the Queen’s stage and went on to finish the 4-day race in 3rd on GC as well.

After the flat first stage in which Alberto Bruttomesso had finished in 3rd place and the stage win for Matevz Govekar in the hilly second stage, the Tour of Antalya was heading for its Queen’s stage with a mountaintop finish at Tahtali for the third day of racing. Despite having Govekar in the GC leader's jersey, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS switched its focus on getting Edoardo Zambanini as its GC captain to the foot of the final climb as fresh as possible. This was done nicely, and from there, the group at the sharp end of the race was reduced to initially 30 and then 15 riders. When his compatriot Davide Piganzoli attacked on the third to last kilometre, Zambanini found no way to answer: "When Piganzoli attacked, we watched each other a bit too long. We never managed to close the gap from there, and I crossed the finish line in 3rd."

This also moved Edoardo Zambanini to 3rd on GC before the conclusive stage, but the gap to the fourth-placed rider stood at just 8 seconds. Thus Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS had to be on its toes all day in order to shelter its GC captain and to neutralise any dangerous attacks. This conclusive stage measured 184 kilometres in length, leading into the hilly backcountry of Antalya and back, and featuring a long three-step climb about halfway into the stage. The decision in the fight for the stage win came with 72 kilometres to go when six riders managed to go up the road. Since the best-placed rider in this group was only 49 seconds behind on GC, Zambanini's 3rd place was in danger as well. But on the way to the finish, the peloton managed to reduce the gap to 21 seconds - but only got to sprint for 7th place.

For Edoardo Zambanini, this was good enough by a scant margin: he managed to keep Norwegian Ådne Holter, who had been part of the breakaway behind him, on GC by 4 seconds, thus holding on to 3rd on GC. With one stage win and a place on the overall podium, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS reached the goal that had been set beforehand by the sports directors for the Tour of Antalya. As for the next race, the team will bring a very strong lineup to the Vuelta a Andalucia starting next Wednesday. Apart from experienced riders such as Damiano Caruso, Jack Haig and Wout Poels, Santiago Buitrago and Alberto Tiberi will also compete in the South of Spain, with Fran Miholjevic and Jasha Sütterlin in supporting roles.

1. Davide Piganzoli, ITA, in 3:33.03 hours
2. Alessandro Pinarello, ITA, + 0.14
3. Edoardo Zambanini, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.18

1. Davide Piganzoli, ITA, in 14:09.38 hours
2. Alessandro Pinarello, ITA, + 0.18
3. Edoardo Zambanini, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.24

Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency