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“In the end we decided to go for the jersey and let the breakaway be; I could lose everything if we arrived all together.  We wanted to put pressure on Lampre [Merida] in the chase and they tried."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






31.05.2015 @ 22:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Giacomo Nizzolo secured the maglia rossa on the final day in the Giro d’Italia by taking the third place points in the second intermediate sprint behind a two-rider breakaway, then sprinting to fifth place as the escapees contested the stage win.


“It was hard to control today, and during the stage we lost some points. For the second sprint there was a lot of stress – maybe too much – and in the end the breakaway was gone and for us that was not bad, so we let them go for the jersey. The final sprint was a bit chaotic, but I took 3rd of the bunch and in front of my main competitors so it all worked out," Nizzolo


After a string of six times finishing second in bunch finishes at the Giro d’Italia in the past two years, Nizzolo was poised to try and break the curse Sunday, but the finale played out with tactics that determined otherwise. 


When two riders escaped on the circuits it became a calculated game for Trek Factory Racing: chase and risk losing the red jersey, or don’t chase and forego a chance at a stage win, something Nizzolo - and the team - have been chasing vigilantly the past three weeks.


In the end the decision was taken to wait, but mysteriously none of the other rival sprinters’ teams took up the reins in the last lap and the chase sputtered, allowing the two leaders to fight out the victory, won by Etixx-Quick Step’s Iljo Keisse.


“For sure to win both – the stage and the jersey – would have been the perfect scenario, but anyway I can be happy to win this jersey here in Milan, which is my city and I am really proud to go on the podium," Nizzolo said.


“In the end we decided to go for the jersey and let the breakaway be; I could lose everything if we arrived all together.  We wanted to put pressure on Lampre [Merida] in the chase and they tried, but they didn’t have enough to bring it back. In the end, the two guys were strong, and no one could bring them back.


“The teams who were pulling at the end seemed to have run out of steam and the peloton slowed down a little bit, but the two guys in front went pretty fast, also. We just tried to sprint for the third place. Now we will try again next year.”



The 185-kilometer 21st stage was mostly the traditional promenade until the Tinkoff-Saxo led peloton arrived at the 5.4-kilometer circuit completed seven times.  The only hiccup was an intermediate sprint around the midway point of the stage, which saw a sneaky move by BMC a few kilometers ahead of the sprint line.  Philippe Gilbert attacked with two teammates and a Lampre-Merida rider in tow to grab the 20 points and leap into second place in the points competition behind Nizzolo.


“BMC, to be honest, they did a real smart move and we were a bit surprised. But we were also surprised by Lampre and Sky for Modolo and Viviani - in the end we were all still in the game, and on the final laps I think we managed well,” explained Nizzolo.


Once on the final circuits the second sprint was contested with four laps remaining, and with the two breakaway riders ahead of the race it was a battle for third place points. 


Fabio Felline and Marco Coledan led out Giacomo Nizzolo, and he easily grabbed the points uncontested – it appeared that the others already decided to focus on the final sprint.


But the two riders out front continued to pad their lead, building a minute’s advantage with two laps to go that proved insurmountable due to a jumbled chase behind.


“It was actually good for us that the four riders went away on the first sprint,” Trek Factory Racing director Adriano Baffi explained.  “On the second one we tried to get some points because Modolo was the strongest and if Nizzolo finished second to him in the final sprint, then we still have the red jersey.


“At the end we have the jersey and for the team it was a big objective. And I can say that it was not easy! I mean Modolo won two stages and he didn’t get the red jersey.


“But we calculated from the beginning to go for it, and although we have no victory we have three times second and now with the jersey we can be happy.


“I told Giacomo he has a place in the Giro’s history books because the points classification is the second most important of the race.”  



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