82º Giro dell’Appennino
Pasturana – Genova (192,1 km)
The Spaniard from Granada, Alejandro Ropero, put in a great performance this Thursday in an edition of the Giro dell’Appenino in which the Belgian Ben Hermans won alone and in which Ropero finished in ninth position. His first top ten of the season comes in a race where he always rode at the front, well protected by his teammates, and in which he fought until the end to arrive in the leading group. Luca Wackermann and Arturo Grávalos, in the first breakaway attempts, and Diego Pablo Sevilla, in the breakaway that would achieve more advantage during the day, also left their stamp on the routes of Liguria.
The definitive breakaway would not be completed until the race passed the flying finish of Pasturana, an important moment that put an end to a first loop around the starting town in which the race was flying, with an average for the first hour that touched 47 km/h. Nearly 40 km of the stage had elapsed before seven riders, including Spaniard Diego Pablo Sevilla, took off. Their lead would stabilise at between a minute and a half and two minutes and with these rents they faced the first of the four climbs of the day: Fraconalto.
Sevilla would pass first both by its summit and the next one, Crocefieschi, prize at the end for his efforts, while the breakaway was selected in a complicated and demanding terrain. On the approach to Crocetta d’Orero, with such small gaps, the adventure came to an end as Israel and Ineos began to impose a very high pace. At Maddona della Guardia the race was revolutionised. Barely thirty riders would hold on to the lead in the early stages and only eight riders faced the final part, where the gradient was the hardest.
That’s where the Belgian Ben Herman moved, the eventual solo winner, and that’s where Alejandro Ropero fought to get as far ahead as possible and face the last kilometres. On the descent, a group of about fifteen riders was formed where the rider from Granada was riding, a group that ended up catching Gianni Moscon and Juan Ayuso and ended up playing for the other two places on the podium.
“A very hard race”, says Alejandro Ropero from the finish area. “I’m happy with the feeling, although it wasn’t easy to get to the front. We had to suffer a lot. But the team was once again top-notch. Half of the last climb I rode behind Ayuso. Then the attacks started and I stayed a little bit behind, but I was looking for my rhythm and I formed a very interesting chasing group to ride until the end. When we caught Moscon and Ayuso, who were ahead, there was the option to fight for the podium. But the competition was important. I went for it with everything I had in my legs. I am very happy for this ninth place, especially because it is an indication that we are working well and it allows us to face the next objectives with much more confidence”.