Stefano Oldani finishes seventh in Esztergom, where Márton Dina remains as the first Hungarian in the general
40th Tour of Hungary
Stage 1: Velence-Esztergom (194 km)
Very well placed in the curve prior to the last 200 meters of straight that were going to die at the feet of the majestic cathedral of San Adalberto, among the top five, Stefano Oldani was once again protagonist in the fight for the first victory for the Kometa Cycling Team this season. The Italian finally finished seventh in a finish where his compatriot Manuele Belletti, the current champion of the race, imposed his experience and his top speed. The continental formation of the Alberto Contador Foundation saved a complicated moment, a puncture by Juan Pedro López in the first bars of the second and last climb to Dobogoko, and also prolonged his presence on the podium by the hand of Márton Dina, for the second day the first Hungarian cyclist of the classification.
Oldani was the first of the cyclists of a Kometa very attentive to the evolutions of this first stage in line of the Tour of Hungary in which up to four riders (Oldani, Márton Dina, Juan Pedro López and Diego Pablo Sevilla) arrived in the group of forty units that faced the last kilometre, a group that split in two in a small steep slope, although the judges would not apply any time cut. “I tried to anticipate a little, but the cobblestone at the end was very rough,” summarizes Olda. The Italian, to 9 seconds, is tenth in a general where Manuele Belletti ascending to the leadership. Márton Dina occupies the eleventh place, at 11. Fourteenth is Diego Pablo Sevilla and one place later is Juan Pedro López, both at 12. Four cyclists of the Kometa remain in the top twenty.
The climb to Dobogoko was expected to be the hot spot for the first stage in line of the Magyar round and so it happened. An ascent that is not excessively demanding in itself, but which is liable to provoke dangerous situations at high speeds given its almost twelve kilometres of ascent at an average of around 3.5%. The escape of the day, Jon Bozic, Krisztian Lovassy and Balasz Rozsa, was selected in the first of the two passes through this mountain pass, where Bozic crowned alone with more than six minutes of margin. Before the second step, after an intense work of the professional continental Italian team Androni, the break was history. Until the hot spot on Wednesday, the Kometa rolled very grouped around their strong men, protecting them, with an effective Daniel Viegas in that role.
Juan Pedro López would suffer a puncture in the early stages of the ascent and was forced to step aside in the narrow and grim climb, although the Sevillian managed to return to the main group well escorted by Diego Pablo Sevilla. “It’s been a good heat,” says López. “The important thing is that the problem has been solved. In Androni and Neri Sottoli they set a very happy rhythm, they wanted to do a good clean for the sprint”, contributes Sevilla. Both would succeed in crowning within a main group that had lost many units to the strong rhythm imposed.
Jesús Hernández, sports director of the Kometa Cycling Team: “The fundamental thing about this second day of the race was to save him without setbacks and to be in the fight of the stage. And we have achieved both. We had a tense moment with Juan Pedro’s puncture in the last climb, but it was resolved very well. And Stefano has shown again that special sense of smell that he has to move in the preparations for the finish. I am very happy with the work of all the boys. Viegas and Puppio, with a job like that that you can’t see, have made a fabulous stage”.
Looking ahead to this Thursday, the squad of the Magyar round will have to manage the 201 kilometres separating Balassagyarmat from Miskolc. The longest stage of the current edition of the Vuelta a Hungría has a complex design due to the presence of two of the three high points expected within the last eighty kilometres. A stage with a design similar to this Wednesday’s given the distance from the Bukkszentkereszt, the last orographic difficulty of the day, to the finish line: less than thirty kilometres that promise to be dizzying.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)