The Giro dell Emillia, our penultimate Italian race of the season saw Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) take the win ahead of his late breakaway mates, Andrea Fedi (Southeast) and Angel Madrazo (Caja-Rural). Our Merhawi Kudus would finish in 10th place.
Today the riders would get the racing underway in the pouring rain and it would not ease up all that much throughout the day. After a fast start, it was difficult for the break of the day to form. It took just over 60km of racing before two riders managed to jump clear of the pack. Jean Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Seche) and Marco Frapporti (Androni) were the two riders who managed to ride 4 minutes ahead of the peloton.
With the unrelenting rain and a tough climbers course to contend with, the leading duo would take a battering out there. After a consistent pace was set by a couple of teams in the peleton, the race came all back together with 46km to go. It would now be the 5 ascents up to San Luca that would decide the stage.
3 riders would go clear on the circuit but it was Bakelants who rode across and then passed the 3, with 20km to go that would be the strongest. Behind the peloton broke into pieces as the favourites pushed the pace. Merhawi Kudus was right in the thick of things, always sitting in the front of the main pack. Bakelants would not be caught though and Merhawi would eventually come home with 10th place on the day, a solid result this late in the year for the young Eritrean.
Merhawi Kudus – Rider
Today was a difficult race because of the weather and the really fast start. We did 50km in the first hour today. When the break went away it was easier but on the climb it was getting harder again. In the circuit we were full gas and I just tried to stay in a good place. The team were really good today again and helped me a lot. My legs were okay and I could stay with the front guys but it was not possible to catch the break and go for a win. I am happy to finish my season with this result of 10th place.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It was a tough day out there today. It was raining and cold right from the start. There many attacks in the beginning but only around 60km did 2 riders make the break. The hardest part of the day was the final 40km, on a very difficult local circuit. Our climbers tried their best with Merhawi ending with a top 10 position. This is a nice achievement in such a difficult race.