CRO Race (2.1)
Stage 5: Opatija – Labin (154km)
Fourth place in a selective finish for Albanese, in the fight against the rest of the favourites and showing the attitude and ambition of a true winner. Maestri and Fancellu took part in the great performance of EOLO Kometa.
The race broke in the opening kilometres, first with Mirco Maestri in the breakaway. Despite gaining more than a minute, attacks continued behind. The strongest managed to leave the leader behind and with them Albanese and Fancellu filtered through.
Convinced of the opportunity in the leading group of 17 riders, Albanese got 3 second bonus at the intermediate sprint and Fancellu set the pace in the break, to prevent the counter-attack attempts from succeeding.
In the last 10 kilometres, six riders took the lead with a great Vincenzo Albanese. The winner and new leader would emerge from the group, and the blue rider was well aware of this. His effort allowed him to take fourth place at the demanding finish and he occupies the same position in the overall standings with the final day in Zagreb still to come.
Stefano Zanatta: “We did a very good job today. The race went as planned with Alba and Fancellu in front. We also managed to improve two places in the general classification that we will have to defend tomorrow on a complicated final circuit, looking for the second bonus and the sprint with Albanese and Maestri”.
Vincenzo Albanese: “It was a very fast stage from the start, and the longest climb of the race that ended up deciding the overall. The guys at the front were very strong and from there I was able to follow the leaders when they attacked in search of victory on the final circuit. We tried, we got back together and although they were better than me at the finish I think the finish was a bit hard for me. Fourth overall, now I have to defend it in the last stage”.
Giro dell’Emilia (1.PRO)
Carpi – San Luca (198,7km)
Beautiful, beautiful. Seeing Fortunato there at the front, on his home roads, fighting with the greats to try to win an important and heartfelt race. The Giro dell’Emilia can be summed up like that, with those last two passes on the San Luca climb that saw our Fortunato on the attack, battling with the likes of Pogacar Mas and Pozzovivo. And it was indeed Fortunato who made the attack that then decided the race, with Pogacar reacting to our rider’s sprint and setting the last kilometers on fire. In the end Fortu finished sixth, a great appetizer ahead of the upcoming races – Tre Valli Varesine and Giro di Lombardia – where there is a lot to dream about.
Lorenzo Fortunato: “After the Coppa Agostoni, where I had gone badly, I wanted redemption right on my home roads. I am happy, I tried to make a difference but Pogacar responded to my attack. However, this result gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races.”
Biagio Conte: “I am happy because the guys did exactly what we asked for in the bus meeting. Fortunato had a very good leg and I think it showed, too bad about the finish where maybe he could have waited to attack to get fresher in the last meters. But he was okay, and it was right to try.”