A puncture in the last 25 kilometres of the last stage of this Giro Next Gen was about to blur the place in the top 15 of the overall with which Arnau Gilabert started in the morning, especially because the race was travelling very fast, at a very high average (46.4 km / h was the final average of the day). But the immediate work of the whole EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team U23 team allowed to turn the adversity around, to reintroduce Gilabert in the leader’s group and to feed the arrival of an unexpected prize: the climb of a position in the general classification because the Danish Dennis Lock was 25″ behind the Catalan.
The victory in the final stage went to Anders Foldager (Biesse-Carrera), one of the four members of the day’s breakaway. The well-matched quartet had more than four minutes, but on this occasion the teams with sprinters tried to keep them under control. In the final kilometres, with the peloton getting closer and closer, Manuel Oioli (Q36.5) and Simone Griggion (Zalf) let themselves go. Foldager and Luca Cretti (Colpack) persisted and ended up taking the win by ten seconds. The general classification, which had already been virtual for days, went to Norwegian rider Johannes Staune-Mittet (Jumbo-Visma).
“We finished the race with the final thrill of Arnau’s puncture. And if they caught him again, it was because of the great reaction of each and every one of his team-mates. They worked very well, waiting for him in stages and solving this incident very well in a very complicated moment”, said Rafa Díaz Justo. “We arrived at this Giro with some doubts, and the time trial on the first day didn’t give us any results to be optimistic about. But the days have gone by and with the race, in which we have seen on the one hand a profile of great riders and on the other that of pure climbers, the boys have been growing. Arnau, in particular, and in the mountains, has made a big leap forward. I think the team comes out of this Giro in spectacular shape and we’ll see if it can give us some good things to look forward to in the times ahead”.
[📷 La Presse / Giro Next Gen]