Once again, Albanese. To light up the stage, to make our hearts beat in our throats, to accompany his dream by the hand making it the dream of all those who love him and EOLO KOMETA. Wonderful, Vincenzo: even in what was not a stage suitable for him with that very hard final climb, even on a day when no one was expecting him. He was there: he was the one who took away the breakaway (a breakaway of strength, a difficult one, after the peloton had nipped in the bud any attempt to attack), he was the one who gritted his teeth and held on as long as he could on the very hard ramps of Colle Molella. And once again a fourth place finish came, and once again he was the best of the Italians, and once again EOLO KOMETA was the only Professional team to race as a World Tour team.
And the victory, racing like this and with this condition, will come.
The stage was very hard because we had to wait more than 70 kilometers to see the breakaway, thanks to our Albanese who in a downhill section led away a small group with Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën Team), Barguil (Team Arkéa Samsic), Leknessund (Team DSM ), Ghebreigzabhier and Skujiņš (Trek – Segafredo. The small group quickly came to an agreement and behind the big boys let it be, with Evenepoel happy to be able to lend his pink jersey for a few days. On the climb to the finish line the first to attack was Conci with Barguil losing ground almost immediately, then with 4.5 kilometers to go there was a lunge by Leknessund with Albanese having to surrender. Paret-Peintre was good then to pull back on the Norwegian to win in a sprint with no history: stage to him, pink jersey to Leknessund. Behind them, our Vincenzo beaten by a whisker in the sprint for third place by Skujiņš.
Tomorrow, another stage not to be missed: it is raced in Albanese’s native lands, it passes through his country of origin, there will be friends and family on the roads to push him: because there is a dream, everyone’s dream, to keep chasing. A dream called victory.
Vincenzo Albanese: “Tough, it was very tough. Because it was hard to catch the breakaway, with a nervous and eventful stage from the beginning. Then this little group formed, and I knew that in the final for me it would be a bit hard but I was racing on the home roads and I tried bringing home a fourth place. I am happy, also tomorrow and the day after tomorrow it will be raced at my home, and today my grandparents and my aunt were here cheering for me: beautiful, really.”
Stefano Zanatta: “We started with the intention of putting a man in the breakaway because we knew there was a very good chance that the breakaway would come: first uphill finish, the leaders’ teams not having the situation in hand yet. And so it was, there was a great tussle right away for 70 kilometers then Albanese was good at taking the breakaway away and getting to fight for the stage win even though the finish wasn’t exactly right for him. But with this condition he rode great, without much fear. On the descent there was a crash and Fortunato lost some ground but his teammates were good to bring him back to the group, then he was good to stay with the best. In short, another positive day for us: let’s continue our Giro like this.”