A Tour Poitou-Charentes that we will long remember, and remember with pleasure. Four days and five stages, nervous climbs and a breathless time trial, the EOLO KOMETA that was always protagonist with a victory, many placings, and the third place in the general classification conquered by Mirco Maestri after today’s final stage.
The goal was clear: to try to get on the podium, as this morning the gap to the third place finisher (the Swiss Joel Suter) was only 3″. Not an easy task, also because the very close gaps made the final podium appealing to many riders: chance this time helped our team a little, with the unlucky Suter who fell when there were 70 kilometers to the finish and was forced to retire. At that point, we just had to take care not to be overtaken by those behind in the standings, and the task was handled perfectly by the team, which protected Maestri from the first to the last meter.
In the finale they also tried to work for Lonardi and put him in a position to play the sprint but this time our sprinter failed to place with the best in the sprint won by Marc Sarreau.
Stefano Zanatta: “We started out convinced to recover those 3 seconds that separated us from the podium, then there was bad luck for Suter who was forced to retire so we just had to defend ourselves in the final. The guys also raced very well today, always very careful, and we never risked being overtaken: at the end in the first group there were three of us left, we tried to make the sprint with Lonardi who got into the top 10. We come out of this French race with a more than positive balance: every day a man in the top 10, three breakaways in four days, a victory that gives morale to everyone and gives value to the team also because it was obtained without our two leaders Albanese and Fortunato. This is the line we must hold until the end of the season.”
Mirco Maestri: “The team was fantastic in protecting me throughout the stage and in helping Lonardi in the final. But not only today: every day I felt important and protected by all my teammates, and I think this week made us grow a lot as a team. We are all happy with this podium, which is not a win but it is still a third place in a French race so it is not to be thrown away. My condition is good, I feel the fruits of the work done in the highlands and I know I will grow again so I am really confident for the next races between now and the end of the season. Me and all the teammates, then, are really happy for what Rivi and Lonardi did this week: we before being a team are a family, Samu and Lona were coming from an unlucky period and they deserved these results and we are all really happy for them and with them.”