Michel Ries ninth in the general classification of the Giro of Sicily after a formidable ascent to Etna
Giro di Sicilia
Stage 4: Giardini Naxos – Etna (128 km)
The slopes of Mount Etna welcomed this Saturday the end of the reborn Giro of Sicily with a last day of great demand, with a final climb of twenty kilometers very constant in terms of slopes from Nicolosi to the Giovanni Sapienza mountain refuge. In Etna, where the American Brandon McNulty consolidated his victory in the general classification, the Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert) triumphed after an attack with 1.5 kilometres to go and the Luxembourger Michel Ries, one of his trump cards for the general classification, signed the presence of the Kometa Cycling Team in the final top ten of the race after a marvellous performance.
Ries, Juan Pedro López and Stefano Oldani were the three representatives of the continental group of the Alberto Contador Foundation in the group of illustrious, less than fifty units, which faced the last 35 kilometers of the race once the escape of the day, which came to roll the manchego Isaac Canton, was neutralized. A final part of the stage in which the leader’s team carried the weight. Except for the first few bars of the climb in which Wanty-Goubert took over and threw his Norwegian Odd Eiking forward, the control of the Americans was the dominant tonic until the neutralization of the Nordic, less than 9 by the end. A hunt that came in the middle of a dynamic of various accelerations to which both Ries and Lopez reacted quickly and firmly. Question of fourteen runners and the Kometa, in the ointment.
An acceleration of the Gaul Guillaume Martin within the last eight kilometers crumbled the head of the race, highlighting in its vanguard the leader and four other men (McNulty, Rally; Dayer Quintana, Neri Sottoli; Flavio Masnada, Androni; and Aleksandr Vlasov, Gazprom) and giving way to a series of movements with partial victory as an objective rather than success in general. Behind, twenty seconds later, Michel Ries would shoot in a second quartet where the Sicilian Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli) and the Slovenian Jan Polanc (UAE) were filming. Ries soon took the lead in setting the pace with an agile and cheerful pedal. The Grand Duchy rider finished the stage in ninth position, 47 seconds from the winner. Fifteenth, at 2:44, Lopez entered the finish line.
Michel Ries, rider of the Kometa Cycling Team: “I knew that the climb to Etna could be good for me, because it’s really a very long and very demanding climb. The team kept both Juan Pedro and me in a very good position throughout the stage, riding protected for this final. After all, I’m very happy to have been able to finish in the top ten in a final like Etna”.
In the overall final Michel Ries finishes ninth, 2:11 from the winner. The Sevillian Juan Pedro López finishes fourteenth, at 3:36; the Lebrija rider is also the first Spanish rider in the classification. Stefano Oldani, for his part, finished twenty-second. The three also finished in the top ten of the classification of the young people, a milestone for a training vocation as the Kometa Cycling Team. The team led by Jesus Hernandez leaves Sicily after a great performance, with presence in the breaks, with the leadership of the mountain Grand Prix for two days and the second place in the always prestigious classification by teams, after having returned to be the second best team of this fourth and final stage.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)