Tom Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac) won stage 2 of the Coppi e Bartali, arriving at the finish a few seconds ahead of Arnold Jeannesson (Fortuneao-Vital Concept) and Matteo Busato (Willier).
The 130km 2nd stage of the Coppi e Bartali suited the climbers with a tough climb that needed to be completed 3 times before descending to the finish in Sogliano sul Rubicone. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had a clear plan for the stage, and that was to make the stage as hard as possible so that Merhawi Kudus could then attack a smaller group on the final climb.
Our African Team did just about everything perfectly, dictating the pace from early on and whittling down the peloton at every opportunity. After the penultimate climb, Kudus and Serge Pauwels were our two riders left in the reduced group and our young Eritrean was in a strong position being one of the best climbers in the group.
Disaster struck on the technical descent though and Kudus crashed out from the front group. Fortunately he was not injured but then had a frantic chase to get back to the head of affairs before the final climb. Kudus was just able to regain contact but it was clear he needed a bike change. This 2nd stop put an end to all hopes of top result for our African Team today.
Merhawi Kudus – Rider
It was a lot of bad luck today, right after the start our team took control and responsibility for the race. The team was great and the guys put in such a good effort. We controlled the break the whole stage and when it came to the circuit the guys made the race hard, which is what I needed. Unfortunately I crashed on the 2nd lap and had to change the bike. It was such a big effort to come back that I couldn’t do the final. Thank you to my team for all their effort today, they were very good. We can only look forward to the other stages now.