Giro d´Italia U23
Stage 1: Urbino – Urbino (150,5 km)

In the birthplace of a great master of art like Rafael Sanzio, a great victory for an emerging talent. A work of beautiful workmanship and detailed brushstrokes with individual brilliance, yes, but also a group signature. Alejandro Ropero was dressed in the first pink maglia as the leader of the Giro d’Italia U23 after imposing his speed lead at the arrival in Piazza della Repubblica in Urbino. The Otura rider went on the attack in the last climb to I Gualdi, where he passed first and then formed a trio with the Italian Antonio Tiberi (Colpack) and the Belgian Henri Vandenabeele (Lotto-Soudal).

Ropero and his partner Alessandro Fancellu managed to reach the head of the race before the start of the last climb to I Gualdi, where many riders began to move. Ropero himself was involved in this dynamic and managed to crown the last climb in first position. He opted, however, to wait for Tiberi and Vandenabeele, to optimise his strength by running all in relay. The trio would grow in numbers, but with a fortnight’s margin before the Porta Valbona in Urbino, with a view to disputing the victory. In the last 200 meters, with ramps of 8% by the Giuseppe Mazzini way, Ropero imposed his good performances in this type of arrivals before the Belgian and the Italian. A first big group arrived after 15 seconds with Alessandro Fancellu and Eduardo Pérez-Landaluce inside.

“What do I feel? I’ve always wanted to enjoy an experience like this in a race like this, it’s something I’ve always hoped for. I am very happy. It is something incredible. This finish was very good for my conditions. From now on, all that remains is to think about the next stage and to do my best. It will be difficult to maintain the Maglia Rosa, but of course we will try”, explains the Andalusian after what is the first victory of the season for the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team. About the development of the stage he explained: “At the beginning a quite numerous group left. After the penultimate pass through the finish line we were at the back, the gap was reduced and both Fancellu and I managed to get into the front group before the last climb, the key moment”.

Dario Andriotto, director of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team: “The U23 Giro is a very, very hard fought race. And even more so on the first day if you start with a stage in line as was the case. All the riders arrive full of strength, eager to show what they are capable of. And in a very rare year due to the coronavirus, this desire to be the protagonists is even greater. We were very clear that the objective was to ride calmly, without losing concentration and with our sights set on the last lap of the circuit. The team has been fabulous, all of them riding around Fancellu and Alejandro. Ropero’s attack on the last climb was very hard, it was clear that he had good legs. From then on we tried to keep him for the finish, which was going very well because he is very explosive”.

This Sunday, with Alejandro Ropero dressed in pink and also provisionally leading the classification of points and the combined one, the Giro U23 faces a second stage of 125 kilometres between Gradara and Riccione with the passage through Pietrarubbia, scoring third category, in the middle of the day.

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

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