It was a bitter-sweet stage for the “orange squad” in the Giro d’Italia. Łukasz Owsian was the most aggressive escapee, two other CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders – Grega Bole and Bartłomiej Matysiak finished in the Top 15, but bad luck cost Sylwester Szmyd over one minute in the GC.
The escape was formed basically after first attempt, right after the start. We worked well together, trying to extend the lead. I felt strong today and I wanted to win the only KOM of the stage. The plan was to attack late into the climb, just before the top, but when Nippo-Vini Fantini rider made his move I had to close the gap and that cost me some some power in the sprint. Lindeman who was sitting on my wheel accelerated and took the win. After the climb we tried to maintain our advantage at as high level as possible before entering the laps in Ganova. I was feeling well enough to go solo in the finale, but the bunch was simply too strong – Łukasz Owsian said afterwards.
On the stage from Albenga to Genova, Łukasz Owsian got in the first breakaway of the day, in this year’s Giro d’Italia, He broke clear early on and spent most of the day in a 5-man group, alongside Marco Frapporti (Androni -Sidermec), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Eugert Zhupa (Southeast) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo). Their advantage raised to almost 10 minutes, but the sprinters’ teams were not going to lose one of the few chances for a stage win. When it was 100km left, the gap started to decrease systematically.
Łukasz Owsian didn’t race at two intermediate sprints to save energy for the first GPM in the Giro. Despite the fact, that it was only cat.4 climb, the winner was certain to put on the KOM leader jersey after the stage, since it was the only mountain prime on that day. CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider was fighting for the points with Lindeman, but it was the Dutchman to hit the top in first place.
In the last 20km, when the lead dropped to around 30 seconds, Owsian launched an attack from the escape. Only Zhupa responded, but he was quickly dropped by the Polish rider. Owsian was reeled in with 10km to go, on the laps in Genova.
This is when a crash happened in the bunch, with Nikolay Mihaylov, Branislau Samoilau and Sylwester Szmyd involved. Aside from bruises and cuts they didn’t suffer serious injuries, but Szmyd, who cut his arm and received five stitches after the stage, lost one minute and 9 seconds to the winner.
The stage ended with a slightly uphill, bunch sprint. Grega Bole and Bartłomiej Matysiak were well positioned and finished 11th and 14th respectively. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) powered to victory, outsprinting Moreno Hofland (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal).
Tomorrow’s stage from Rapallo to Sestri Levante is only 136km long, but more than half of it runs on the ascents. The last 40km are all downhill and flat, all the way to the line.