It’s not a dream. Everything is really happening. Everything has really happened. Davide Bais won. EOLO KOMETA has won. And he did it his way: against all expectations, with the man no one expected, on top of a mountain in the snow and cold, after a breakaway that lasted more than 200 kilometers. Davide Bais won, marvelous on the finish line of Campo Imperatore there where Marco Pantani had triumphed, achieving his first success as a professional on the most important stage. Stage, climbers’ blue jersey, and this already beautiful Giro d’Italia became unforgettable. And it is all beautiful, starting from the end: from Davide’s first words, who a moment after winning dedicated his success “to a comrade who is fighting a very difficult battle: Arturo Gravalos, this is for you.“
It is difficult, really difficult to chronicle today’s stage because it could be summed up in two lines: the breakaway with Bais, Karel Vacek (Corratec Selle Italia) and Simone Petilli (Intermarché Circus Wanty) went away after very few kilometers. No one thought it would make it to the end, but the lead of the three grew to more than 11 minutes: the finish line was approaching, and the expected reaction of the peloton never came. The three escapees came to play for the dream of a lifetime, with Bais doing a great job of pulling away from everyone in a sprint that never had any history.
“When we started,” Davide said, trying to hold back his emotion, “no one thought we had any chance of getting there, not even us. Actually I had gone in the breakaway to try to get some points in the climbers’ classification and to be supportive of Fortunato. Then the kilometers passed and we realized that there was a chance to get there, so I tried to save myself to give everything in the final: I still have to realize what happened, I’m living a beautiful moment, it’s my first victory as a pro and I looked for it with all my strength. In the last kilometer I tried to always keep the wheels of Petilli who was the strongest on the climb, then I waited for the last meters to sprint. I want to dedicate it to Arturo Gravalos, to my girlfriend and family, and to the whole team because we are a team that works well and we really wanted to win. And who knows, between now and the end, some of my teammates may not give us another victory. I will try to defend this blue jersey as much as possible because it is a beautiful jersey. At the end Ivan Basso and I hugged each other and he was so happy too, Ivan and Alberto Contador have always been my idols and to have them on the team is an incredible thing. What did I think at the finish line? It’s a dream.”
Ivan Basso: “A victory perhaps unexpected, but definitely sought and wanted: Davide is a young man we took from one of the best youth teams and we immediately tried to improve him by working on him. Our Giro started very well, we always brought home a placing with Albanese and with Maestri and now here is this victory: we have always attacked, the Giro d’Italia is the most beautiful race in the world and it is our duty to honor it. And for sure, we are not stopping here.”