Sunday, July 19, 2015

Valle d'Aosta Stage 5: Robert Power seals overall; Bouwman triumphs at Gran San Bernardo

The final stage of the 52nd Giro della Valle d'Aosta was quite short at just 86.6 kilometers but featured 50 kilometers of climbing and a summit finish on the Colle del Gran San Bernardo at nearly 2500 meter. What was supposed to be the launching pad for some beautiful attacks to try and take the GC lead from Robert Power never really happened. After a week of nothing but climbing, this stage was anti-climactic with the breakaway having another day out front while the GC battle was behind the race.

A breakaway got away early including Nicola Bagioli, Giacomo Zilio (Zalf-Euromobil), Davide Ballerini (Unieuro Wilier), Max Schachmann (AWT-Greenway), Koen Bouwman (SEG Racing), Davide Gabburo (General Store), Kilian Frankiny (BMC Development) and Giulio Ciccone (Colpack). Bagioli was going for the KOM points to try and pull a coup on Ciccone. Bagioli went solo over the first category 1 climb but his points haul was mitigated.

Up the Gran San Bernardo climb, Bagioli went solo and remained so until 5 kilometers to go, when he was joined by Frankiny and Bouwman. Bagioli was subsequently dropped and it came down to a two-man sprint for the line with Bouwman, the Dutchman who was the KOM winner from the Tour de Normandie earlier this year, taking his first ever UCI win. Frankiny, who wasn't too low on GC, came across 2nd and was able to gain a load of time that vaulted him up the classification.

Now Koen, were you not paying attention in your "What to do when I win" class?
Zip the jersey up!

Behind, there was a whole load of abandons from the stage including Silvio Herklotz, former leader Matvey Mamykin, Lorenzo Rota, TJ Eisenhart and Enrico Salvador. While the gap was huge to the breakaway at over 8 minutes at one point, Jack Haig accelerated on the Gran San Bernardo and the riders started to pop off. First it was riders like Alexey Vermeulen and Dan Pearson but then it was Sindre Lunke, Keegan Swirbul, Stefano Nardelli, Simone Ravanelli and Lennard Kämna. Eventually, Simone Petilli was popped and it was down to just Haig, Power and Laurens De Plus, the Belgian who has put a stamp as the breakout rider of the year.

Haig stopped the clock at 5'02" back on Bouwman with Power on the same time and De Plus just a couple of seconds back. Power sealed his overall win by 44 seconds on De Plus while Petilli finished in 3rd at 1'18" down. Frankiny benefitted from his breakaway ride by vaulting up to 4th overall thanks to an off day by Dan Pearson, who held for 5th on the day.

And the award for the most awkward podium picture goes to...
Giulio Ciccone survived the day with his green polka dot jersey for the KOM classification intact while Laurens De Plus took the points classification and Davide Ballerini (Unieuro Wilier) took the sprints jersey. Norway finished as the best team by a country mile while Lennard Kämna was the best 1st year rider.

Stay tuned for more analysis about the race as well as everything else plus more.

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