III Adriatica Ionica Race
Stage 2: Vittorio Venetto – Monte Grappa (148,2 km)
Italian Lorenzo Fortunato became the new leader of the Adriatica Ionica Race after winning on Wednesday at the top of Monte Grappa, the finish of a second stage in which the rider from Castel de Britti persevered until the end to catch Vadim Pronsky, from Astana, who had attacked two kilometres earlier and was ten seconds ahead.
Fortunato, in his second victory as a professional, also the second of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team in its journey as a ProTeam structure, optimized the great work done by the team during the whole day. The second stage of the Adriatica Ionica Race was Lorenzo’s day and the Bolognese climber, at his own pace, without overdoing it, was close to perfection. “The objective is clear and we are all together: we are going to try to win with Fortu and we are all going to support him”, said Diego Pablo Sevilla in the morning.
The queen stage of this Adriatica Ionica Race was decided on the final climb, a climb of great importance, almost 20 kilometres, at the foot of which the breakaway of six riders that led the race for a good part of the day reached its end. On the climb, a fast and large selection. Just 23 riders remained in the lead for the last 15 kilometres. Among them, the Spaniard Alejandro Ropero and Lorenzo Fortunato on behalf of the professional structure of the Contador Foundation.
Merhawi Kudis and Vadim Pronskiy, on behalf of Astana, and Giovanni Carboni, from Bardiani, established a first selection and the three were planted in the last five kilometres. From behind came Lorenzo Fortunato (EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team), Luca Covili, Alessandro Monaco and Filippo Zana (Bardiani); a brief regrouping, broken by a powerful attack of Pronskiy that allowed him to stand out with a dozen seconds, within the final kilometre. But Fortunato reacted, overtook Pronskiy and controlled Kudus to score a great success for his career. Confirmation that Monte Zoncolan was never a fluke.
Lorenzo Fortunato: “This is the fourth week of Giro d’Italia for me. I said it and I repeat it: I came here to continue on the path started at the Giro, with a good condition and a clear head. I had this stage in my head, I wanted to win and it wasn’t easy: it was harder here than on the Zoncolan. A kilometer from the end I was 15” behind, I realized that I had to sprint: so I put down the ratio, and went all out. Really, it was beautiful. This season is becoming wonderful, but I’m still the same as before. Now, the head goes to tomorrow’s stage: we want to defend the leader’s jersey, and we’ll do everything. Meanwhile, thanks to the team that also today supported and protected me in the best way”.
The last stage, a day to defend the first leader’s jersey in the history of the Foundation’s professional structure, will be far from easy: less than 158 kilometres, yes, but up to six passes through sectors of sterrato where things can always happen. Another day to show the strengths of a team.