First Giro stage win for Gino Mäder
The day after Mikel Landa had been forced out of the race, Team Bahrain Victorious showed a strong reaction at the Giro d’Italia: From the very start the riders in red and black raced actively and put their stamp on the race in the breakaway. In the end, Gino Mäder capped off this performance with a solo win at the first mountaintop finish. Also, Phil Bauhaus sprinted to a 3rd place in stage 2 of the Tour de Hongrie.
On Wednesday evening the mood within Team Bahrain Victorious was at a low in Italy: As its designated captain Mikel Landa had broken his left collarbone and three ribs in a crash in the finale of stage 5, forcing him out of the Giro d’Italia. Meanwhile the Basque rider has already returned back home for surgery. After this blow the team decided to make the best from this stage race from here. And the riders in red and black lost no time to show what this meant from the very start of the 6th stage that had a mountaintop finish in San Giacomo. Both Matej Mohoric and Gino Mäder attacked repeatedly until they got away with six other riders. On the way to the highest point of the stage, the group fell apart into two pieces, and Mohoric completely sacrificed himself working for his Swiss team mate. With Bauke Mollema and Dario Cataldo, two strong climbers completed the four-rider lead group.
At the foot of the final climb over a distance of about 16 kilometers, these four riders still had a lead of two and a half minutes. Matej Mohoric went deep one more time for about three kilometers before dropping back and helping Damiano Caruso and Pello Bilbao in the group of favourites. Further up the road, Gino Mäder patiently waited for the right moment to pounce, and with 3.3 kilometers to go the young Swiss rider attacked and dropped his last rivals. In his wake, the fight of the overall contenders got serious, with Colombian Egan Bernal attacking repeatedly. Unfazed by this Gino Mäder powered on towards the finish line on his own, and this time there was a happy end for him. After having lost out on a stage win at the Paris-Nice stage race in March, getting caught and passed with 50 meters to go, he kept onto 12 seconds of his lead this time, crossing the finish line as a solo winner.
«After Mikel had been forced to abandon the race, we as a team decided to make the best of this Giro», Matej Mohoric explained in high spirits after finishing the stage. «We had a plan, and I hardly can’t believe how well this all worked out.» The sentiments of stage winner Gino Mäder were similar: «We wanted to get into the breakaway today, and that worked out well. Luckily Matej was super super strong today. After having missed out on a stage win so narrowly at Paris-Nice, it’s such a nice feeling to be on top today. But I could only enjoy the win from the 100 meters to go sign as that situation at Paris-Nice constantly was on my mind. Now the joy is all the bigger to get my first stage win in a Grand Tour.» Mäder and Mohoric were not the only riders of Team Bahrain Victorious who performed strongly today: Damiano Caruso and Pello Bilbao climbed to the finish with the best and managed to further extend the lead in the team classification of the Giro d’Italia.
As expected, the 2nd stage of the Tour de Hongrie again ended in a bunch sprint, and just like the day before the finale was pretty frantic and saw a number of crashes. In this situation Phil Bauhaus lost his lead-out and unlike yesterday he could not latch onto some other sprint trains to launch his acceleration. With one strong, final burst of speed the German sprinter managed to cross the finish line in 3rd, but he lost the yellow leader’s jersey to today’s stage winner Jordi Meeus. On Friday, Phil Bauhaus and Team Bahrain Victorious will get another chance to fine-tune the mechanisms of their lead-out and to get back to his winning ways.
104TH GIRO D’ITALIA
STAGE 6: GROTTE DI FRASASSI - ASCOLI PICENO (SAN GIACOMO), 160KM
1. Gino Mäder, SUI/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 4:17.52 hours
2. Egan Bernal, COL, + 0.12
3. Daniel Martin, IRL, st
42ND TOUR DE HONGRIE
STAGE 2: BALATONFÜRED - NAGIKANIZSA, 182.6KM
1. Jordi Meeus, BEL, in 4:03.55 hours
2. Alberto Dainese, ITA, st
3. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, st