NTT Pro Cycling retained 6th place on the team classification of the 103rd Giro d’Italia following a strong performance on stage 20 that was sadly thwarted in the finale due to some bad luck.
Our team executed the pre-race strategy perfectly in having Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Matteo Sobrero in the breakaway, who would play crucial roles later on as the competition for the general classification ignited and they were reeled in.
Domenico Pozzovivo and Ben O’Connor both sat fairly comfortably in the maglia rosa group but an unfortunate mechanical for Pozzovivo on a descent with the car unable to reach him left him lose crucial time, and despite a blistering finishing climb it wasn’t enough to catch the race leader again.
The Italian finished 12th just over two minutes behind winner Tao Geoghegan Hart (INS) with O’Connor 3 places further back.
We had a nice tactical plan to put two up there and it worked perfectly in having Amanuel and Matteo in the break as we knew that would also help us later in the final; we knew the break wouldn’t make it (to the line).
It was all fine and we kept to that but unfortunately both Amanuel and Domenico had some issues; and for Pozzo we just couldn’t get to him on the descent (due to other vehicles). It was a bummer as he was really, really strong today and we could have secured a top position here. Cycling isn’t always sunshine though and the team worked really well.
We’ve had some great results over the last few days in the mountains so at this point of course we’re happy but we had some bad luck today and we have to live with it.
It was a tough stage and I saw all the riders from the other teams also on the limit today. I wasn’t so bad and was confident I would be able to do a great final climb but unfortunately on the final descent I had an issue.
I then used Amanuel and Ben as we tried to do the best climb possible; I showed that I had very good legs but I was very unlucky in not being able to use them for the stage result and to improve on the general classification.
The entire team has been fantastic – and today again – we were just really unlucky.