Look at today’s finishing order, and smile. And that’s all there is to it, after a day like today. Because seeing Lorenzo Fortunato’s name in fifth place (first of the Italians, as it was yesterday, and now eighth in the general classification at 32″) in a very tough stage as tough as Tour of the Alps stages know how to be is something important that says everything about what EOLO KOMETA is doing in this race. Given Fortunato’s splendid condition, the way of racing has changed as director Jesus Hernandez announced to us last night, “Now, we are racing as a great team.” No more breakaways, but a compact group around its captain to accompany him safely to the last climb: this is how it was today, with the team being splendid in the service of the leading man. And this is how it will be in the coming days, with tomorrow’s stage featuring a finish with a long climb: perfect terrain, to improve even more.
Yesterday’s stage was very fast, with the day’s breakaway composed of Carr, Vermeulen, Samitier, Juaristi and Schönberger reaching a maximum lead of 3’15”, before the group led by the usual Ineos caught all the escapees one by one. On the last climb (3.9 km at 8.5 percent), Ineos opened the throttle by reducing the small group: with 600 meters to go, Santiago Buitrago tried, later overtaken by Geoghegan Hart, who repeated yesterday’s victory and increased his lead in the general classification. Immediately behind was our Fortunato, and applause also for Fernando Tercero who was the last to break away from the strongest group with just over two kilometers to go. On the other hand, Samuele Rivi was forced to retire due to a nagging cough that has plagued him for the past two days.
Lorenzo Fortunato: “Yesterday I had said I would like to improve on seventh place, and there it is. I’m happy, for the result but mostly because I feel great and the legs are turning the right way. Tomorrow there is a final climb that I really like, I will definitely try to do something. But it’s really good to feel that the condition is growing, and I want to thank the team that has worked so well for me.”
Jesus Hernandez: “Good, great. I’m happy with the way we ran: as a great team, serving a captain in great condition. If we look at who came in front of Fortu and who came behind him, we understand well what a great thing he did: tomorrow’s finish is better for him, I am confident. Very good also Tercero, struggling with such a tough race and with so many champions, who held on until the end together with Fortunato.”