2nd place for Mark Padun in Italy

At this year’s Giro d’Italia Team Bahrain-McLaren’s riders have come out of the first rest day in an attacking mood. Mark Padun finished the 12th stage in 2nd after a long breakaway effort, and Pello Bilbao is positioned in 3rd in the overall standings. 

Team Bahrain-McLaren came to this year’s Giro d’Itailia with a selection of riders tailored rather for stage hunting than for the overall standings. As co-captains, Pello Bilbao and Hermann Pernsteiner could rely on the support of Yukiya Arashiro, Eros Capecchi, Domen Novak, Mark Padun and Jan Tratnik with Enrico Battaglin as an option for uphill sprints. And the Giro d’Italia saw an animated start: After the blisteringly fast individual time trial in Palermo, six of the following eleven stages were won by breakaway riders. And as a number of pre-race favorites were forced out of the races by crashes or illness, the race for the overall standings looks wide open.

Pello Bilbao set off with a decent effort in the time trial, followed by a strong ride up the flanks of the Etna. This put him in a promising position fo the overall standings, slotting in in 3rd place at just over half a minute. With about 30 kilometers to go in stage 10, Pello Bilbao attacked from the group of favorites in the demanding finale to Tortoreto. On wet roads, Bilbao sliced through the remainders of the early breakaway and at times built a lead of half a minute over the other favorites. But Peter Sagan remained out of his reach, and in the end Team Bahrain-McLaren’s Basque rider got caught by the chasers. Nevertheless, his attack was a clear indication of good form.

There truly was no lack of climbs on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, as the route into the backcountry of Cesenatico followed the course of the Nove Colli event. Early on, a large breakaway went up the road and built a maximum lead of more than 13 minutes. Mark Padun was flying the colors of Team Bahrain-McLaren in this group, and he was looking stronger and stronger as the stage continued. On the last long climb he first neutralized a series of attacks before setting off with Jonathan Narvaez. These two dropped their last companion and continued to extend its lead on the long descent back to the finish. A two-up sprint in Cesenatico seemed the logical way for this stage to end, but the rain had washed a lot of debris onto the road surface, and Mark Padun suffered a flat with about 20 kilometers to go.

Despite a fast bike change and a valiant effort, the Ukrainian rider could not close the gap to his former companion anymore, and so he had to settle for 2nd in the stage. More than seven minutes later, Pello Bilbao crossed the finish line safely in the group of favorites after a long, rainy day in the saddle, thus consolidating his 3rd place in the overall standings. Hermann Pernsteiner on the other hand lost a couple of minutes today, slipping from 10th to 14th in the overall standings. After Friday’s mostly flat stage, the individual time trial from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene on Saturday is bound to give the overall standings of this Giro d’Italia a more precise shape.

The highlight in Belgium came courtesy of Dylan Teuns who finished Gent-Wevelgem in 10th after an attacking race. As for the Scheldeprijs, a semi-classic that is often jokingly referred to as the sprinters' World championships, Ivan Cortina Garcia went down as he could not steer clear of a crashed rider. The Spaniard suffered a scaphoid fracture and a shoulder injury, sadly ruling him out for the remaining classics season.  


1. Jonathan Narvaez, ECU, in 5:31.24 hours
2. Mark Padun, UKR/Team Bahrain-McLaren, + 1.08
3. Simon Clarke, AUS, + 6.10

1. Joao Almeida, POR, in 49:21.46 hours
2. Wilco Kelderman, NED, + 0.34
3. Pello Bilbao, ESP/Team Bahrain-McLaren, + 0.43