Of course, when you come within a whisker of victory a bit of disappointment is there. But it’s short-lived, because all you have to do is look around to realize that you still did something good: for the team, for the fans, for the sponsors, for ourselves.
Here, then, the first stage of the Tour Poitou-Charentes, 195 km from Confolens to Matha, can be summed up like this: we came within a step. One step away from victory with Lonardi beaten in the sprint only by Soren Waerenskjold, one step away from the mountain leader’s jersey with Sevilla second. But we tried as only a great team can.
Let’s tell the story of this stage. In fact, let’s have it told by those who experienced it in the flagship like Stefano Zanatta. “We started with the idea of taking points immediately for the KOMs since there was one after a few kilometers: the idea was to send David Martìn who is faster and would have been suited to these short climbs, after the first KOM in which David finished third a counter-attack breakaway started in which Diego Sevilla was as always very good at inserting himself. He fought and was really good, and until 15 km to go he was showing off and making points for the KOMs. Then the others came into the picture, first Pietrobon and Bevilacqua and then Maestri, who led David and Lonardi in the last kilometers taking him into the best positions. Then he tried, but he found someone stronger than him: this second place rewards him for the sacrifices he is making and the condition he has reached. The team is there, and this is the most important thing: we got off to a great start, let’s continue like this for the next few days.”
Giovanni Lonardi: “Today went well and it was an almost perfect day: it was very close to victory. The team was wonderful we did a wonderful job until 500 meters from the end, then I caught the wheel of the rider who eventually won, maybe I waited a few seconds too long to leave and I couldn’t catch up anymore. But the leg is great and every day is good to try: even tomorrow.”
Diego Sevilla: “Really tough day because of the heat, the breakaway went away right away and I managed to catch it. I tried to score points and take bonuses but I always finished second in all the sprints. I’m happy though because I feel good and I’m very confident for the next few days.”
After today’s stage in the general classification Lonardi is third and Sevilla is fourth, while the KOM classification sees Sevilla in second place.