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"Every time I tried to stand my wheel was slipping. Maybe my motocross background helped me stay upright, but I was really, really close to crashing several times," Nizzolo says

Photo: Trek Factory Racing

GIACOMO NIZZOLO

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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13.05.2014 @ 19:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Giacomo Nizzolo got close to his first grand tour stage victory when he was narrowly edged out by Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) in the messy finale of the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia. Praising Bouhanni's effort to come back from a puncture, the Italian said that the conditions were so slippery that it was no real sprint.

 

On a dry day the situation would have been far different. But the first day back in Italy proved to be a perilous one, and the 112-kilometer race was reduced to a one lap, 8.3-kilometer affair.

 

The slick roads left only five men standing in the last kilometer, including Giacomo Nizzolo, after late crashes separated the remaining bunch. But it was Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) who snatched the victory in the chaotic finish, with Giacomo Nizzolo finishing a close second.

 

“What can I say about today? The conditions were horrible as everyone saw,” said a wet and dirty Nizzolo just after the finish. “The sprint was almost nothing because in the last 500 meters I could not even stand up! Every time I tried to stand my wheel was slipping. Maybe my motocross background helped me stay upright, but I was really, really close to crashing several times.

 

"I could only do the sprint in the saddle until the last 50 meters where I could finally stand.  I was getting closer and closer, but in the end was second. What can I say? Bouhanni is a good sprinter, and for him to come back from the puncture  - he more than earned his win.”

 

The stage began under a rain soaked course, and it was shortly after the start that the decision was made not to race until the final circuits with the ice-rink like roads making for dangerous conditions.

 

Once on the circuits it was apparent the slick corners were still too hazardous, and the time for GC was taken with one lap to go, and no bonus seconds would be granted at the finish.

 

“The peloton and the organization made the decision together, and in the end it was the right one,” added Giacomo Nizzolo. “The scenario we saw in the last lap could have happened the entire race. Once we were in the circuits we went really fast, we raced as professionals, so the spectators still had a show. It really was the best decision.”

 

Orica GreenEdge moved to the front to control the pace in the final two laps, keeping overall leader Michael Matthews protected until the safe haven of one lap to go. On the final circuit the sprint teams moved to the front with Cannondale taking the lead, increasing the pace, and stretching out the peloton. However, a slippery corner with just over 1.5 kilometers to go would be their demise: the team slid out on the tarmac, causing many others to brake, slide, and fall behind them.

 

Only a handful of riders escaped the melee, including Giacomo Nizzolo who was tucked in fourth wheel. But the last few corners were also a treacherous affair; the riders diligently picked their way through them, but to hold a wheel was impossible. Out of the last corner the leading rider Tom Veelers [Giant-Shimano] had a sizeable gap, but both Nacer Bouhinni (FDJ.fr) and Giacomo Nizzolo were closing fast. At the last moment Bouhanni jumped around for the win, with Nizzolo running out of real estate and settling for second. Veelers held on for third.

 

Tomorrow the Giro d’Italia hits the hills for the first time, and the race will begin its first tactical test of the general classification.

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