Giro d’Italia: Szmyd getting his climbing rhythm back

Sylwester Szmyd showed he is getting back to his good form, by claiming top 20 place on a very demanding stage, with uphill finish in Madonna di Campiglio. 

I felt good today. I was trying to get in the break at the beginning, but when other riders started to counterattack the pace was really hard to overcome – Sylwester Szmyd said. – During the descent from Passo Daone, I  was riding at the back of the leading group, when the field split in front of Inxausti. I think it was a tactical maneuver, because there were few riders who were a GC threat for his team. I was not able to pass him and I lost contact with the leaders. The descent was very twisty and narrow, but I knew it very well. I came here for recon few weeks ago, to check out today’s and Tuesday’s stage. I rode down the hill on my bike and I even recorded the downhill on video. I prepared well for the stage but you can’t predict everything. There was a chance for top 10 today, for sure. 

This year’s Giro is very unusual and sometimes it’s hard to explain we things are going certain way. First days of the race were not easy for me, with the crash and bruises, but maybe it was for the better. Because of the lost time in the first week I could go easy and safely in the second, don’t worry about classification and concentrate only on the third week. I am always very good in the final part of Grand Tours. I will fight. It’s not going to be easy to win a stage, but I want to make my presence known here. “I want to breathe the same air “as favorites on the climbs. We will see how things go in the upcoming stages and we will take every stage day by day. My form is good. 

The next opportunity is on Tuesday. It would be nice to make the breakaway, although around 70 other riders have similar plan. We will kick off the stage with a climb, so the first kilometers will be extremely hard. The escape can stay in the front for a long time, if not to the finish. It will be important to start the last climb with some advantage over the favorites. The penultimate mountain is Mortirolo, which doesn’t forgive weakness. This is when decisive moves may happen. It’s a special climb one of the most famous in Italian cycling. There are always thousands of fans and the riders can feel that excitement. I don’t think the GC contenders will just pass it through calmly.  

The day’s main breakaway was beeing formed throughout the first 70 kilometers of racing. Many riders tried to break clear but most of the time the peloton didn’t like the composition of the escape. The race would split and come back together few times, as Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana were controlling the pace. Among the attackers, there were also CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders, but eventually they didn’t make the final cut.

Finally it was Ilnur Zakarin, Giovanni Visconti, Benat Intxausti, Sergio Paulinho, Kantsantsin Siutsou, Hubert Dupont, Diego Rosa, Matteo Montaguti, Francesco Gavazzi and Brent Bookwalter who got away. They never gained too much of the advantage tough, as the maximum gap reached 3:20.

When the cooperation began to break down, Visconti, Siutsou, Dupont and Bookwalter took off and the other escapees were reigned back in by the bunch. The final climb to Madonna di Campiglio was approached by three leading riders, since Bookwalter got dropped.

On the penultimate slope, Passo Daone (cat.1), Sylwester Szmyd proved that his getting his climbing rhythm back. He survived the selection and stayed with the strongest. Unfortunately he was unable to maintain fast pace on the descent. The field split and the CCC Sprandi Polkowice lost contact with the first group. He took on the final ascent from the chasing field.

Dupont was the last escapee to get reeled in, with 14 kilometers to go. With every minute the leading group was getting smaller and smaller and in the end only 4 riders managed to maintain the pace – Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, Mikel Landa and Yury Trofimov. Just before the finish Landa took off and grabbed the win. Trofimov, Contador and Aru came few seconds behind him.

Sylwester Szmyd reached the summit 5:10 after the winner, in 17th place.