Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka continues to help animate the stages in Giro d’Italia. On Sunday’s difficult mountain stage, Omar Fraile attacked and showed off the team colors at the front of the race.
Despite its total distance of only 149 km, stage 9 was definitely not an easy one for the peloton. With a steep mountain top finish on the category 1 climb, Blockhaus, the overall favorites were expected to fight for the victory at the end of the day. However, it didn’t discourage Fraile from attacking early on. Our Basque climber showed strong legs as he made it into the morning breakaway. Unfortunately, the front group was never allowed much of a gap as some of the teams who had missed out set a furious pace in the peloton. Thereby, the gap stayed at around two-three minutes and when the teams of the GC riders took over, it didn’t take long before it all came back together again.
Just before taking on the final climb of the day, a motorbike caused a crashed within the peloton, which instantly took out some of the pre-race favorites. The pack split up and many riders were left behind, chasing hard to get back on.
At the front, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) proved to be the strongest as he soloed to victory and moved into the overall lead of the race. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Jacques Janse van Rensburg did very well to finish in 22nd place with Igor Antón crossing the line shortly after as number 30 on the stage.
“I knew this was going to be a difficult day but I wanted to give it a go. We went really hard in the first one and a half hours but we never really got away due to the teams chasing in the peloton. If only they had had a rider in the break and not been chasing like that, I think we could have made it all the way. However, they kept the gap at a minimum and later Movistar took over, going for the stage win, which made it impossible for us to make it today”.