Race News

Diego Ulissi wins the longest stage of the Giro d’Italia


Diego Ulissi wins the longest stage of the Giro d’Italia

Jan Polanc’s victory at the first mountaintop finish of this year’s Giro d’Italia seemed to have overcome a mental block with TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA. One day later Sacha Modolo sprinted to a third place, and at the end of the longest stage finishing in Fiuggi Diego Ulissi got to celebrate an emotional stage win.

It’s details that often make the difference between winning and losing in elite sports, and TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s first week at the Giro d’Italia is no exception to this rule of thumb, Throughout the initial four days the team did not get a payback for the big effort it had been investing. But things took a distinctive turn for the better with Jan Polanc’s win at the mountaintop finish in Abetone: The riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green are now riding free from pressure, and the young riders are scoring some impressive results. Just two days after 23 year-old Jan Polanc it was 25 year-old Diego Ulissi’s turn to shine.

On the day after Jan Polanc’s stage win the riders at the Giro d’Italia were facing another stage that seemed tailor-made for sprinters. It only featured one rated cat4 climb in the middle part, but for the finale the route got distinctively more flat. The teams of the strong riders only granted a limited advantage to a group of five escapees who got reeled in pretty early in order to properly prepare for the bunch sprint. Roberto Ferrari and Max Richeze cooperated nicely and delivered Sacha Modolo to the finishing straight in Castiglione della Pescaia in a promising position. TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s sprint specialist scored his first podium finish at this year’s Giro d’Italia, crossing the finish line in third. In addition the team also got rewarded as the stage’s most combative team.

The next day saw the longest stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia, covering 264 kilometers from Grosseto to Fiuggi. The first part of this stage was mainly flat, but the stage had a sting in its tail on the final 50 kilometers. It was here that the peloton pulled back a group of four attackers that had managed to amass a maximum lead of eleven minutes and that had been riding in the lead of the race for 220 kilometers. Just like the day before Roberto Ferrari and Max Richeze rode an excellent lead-out for Sacha Modolo, but the latter ran out of steam with about 250 meters to go on the ascending finishing straight. But at the same moment Diego Ulissi launched his sprint on the left side of the street, and he managed to distance all of his opponents. Thus Ulissi got to celebrate his fourth Giro stage win in his still young career.

„From MERIDA’s perspective we are all the more pleased as the young riders are really excelling at this year’s Giro d’Italia so far with Jan Polanc and Diego Ulissi. This comes as a confirmation of our strategy to rejuvenate the line-up of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA step by step and to also make it more international“, Andreas Rottler as MERIDA’s director of sports marketing comments. Another remarkable fact worth mentioning is that the two wins were achieved using two different MERIDA frames: Jan Polanc rode to the win in Abetone aboard the new Scultura whereas Diego Ulissi celebrated his victory using a REACTO EVO.

98th Giro d’Italia

Stage 6: Montecatini Terme - Castiglione della Pescaia, 183km

1. André Greipel, GER, in 4:19.42 hours
2. Matteo Pelucchi, ITA, st
3. Sacha Modolo, ITA/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, st

Stage 7: Grosseto - Fiuggi, 264km

1. Diego Ulissi, ITA/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, in 7:22.21 hours
2. Juan José Lobato, ESP, st
3. Simon Gerrans, AUS, st