Etixx – Quick-Step had another successful season in 2016, with 57 road wins alongside 69 other podium places, and over the next weeks we will look back on the 10 biggest moments for the team.
Stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia, which set off from the small town of Campi Bisenzio, was one of the most eventful at the 99th edition: a big break went clear right from the start and made it all the way to the finish in Sestola with a comfortable advantage over the peloton, one of the pre-race favourites called it a day due to illness, and the maglia rosa changed shoulders, but not without witnessing one of the most memorable moments in its history.
Leader in the general classification following the remarkable solo win he scored in Arezzo, Gianluca Brambilla was enjoying his second consecutive day in the pink jersey, which came as a result of the best time trial in his career, on a day with harsh weather conditions. Stage 10 was no walk in the park, as several teams had their eyes on the GC and therefore decided put the hammer down early, before the final climb. Among the riders to get dropped on Pian del Falco was also Gianluca, but this didn't broke his spirit, and as soon as the downhill began, the Etixx – Quick-Step rider started a frantic chase, chewing into the gap that was separating him from what was already a severely reduced bunch.
"I was put in difficulty on Pian del Falco and decided to pace myself once I got dropped. I was aware that I could come back on the descent and went full gas there. After rejoining the pack and finding out that Amador – who was dangerous for the GC – got away, I wanted to stay at the front and sacrifice myself for the team and ride for Bob, who was well placed in the overall standings", said Gianluca Brambilla, who once he returned to the group, buried himself at the front for his teammate on Sestola.
After the pink jersey's work came to an end, it was Bob Jungels' time to push hard and keep on a leash his opponents who went to the attack hoping to gain some seconds and take the coveted maglia rosa. But it was meant to be only for Bob, whose brave effort, combined with the sacrifice of Gianluca, saw him ride into the Giro d'Italia lead at just 23 and keep the pink jersey for three testing days during which he displayed panache as well as a physical and mental toughness that recommend him for a bright future in Grand Tours.
"Etixx – Quick-Step is a special team, and you could see this on stage 10 of the race. It's not often that the rider in the pink jersey works for a teammate and Brambi was fantastic on that stage, so hats off to him. It took me a few hours to understand what has happened, as that was definitely one of the best moments of my life, a great day not only for me, but also for Etixx – Quick-Step and for my country. That beautiful jersey was for my team, for believing and supporting me all the time, and for my family", concluded Bob Jungels, who became at that point the first Luxembourg rider in 58 years to wear the maglia rosa.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele