Our neo-pro featured in the break on the race’s queen stage.
Less than a week separates the Giro d’Italia peloton from the conclusion of the 102nd edition, but the remaining stages aren’t a stroll in the park, and the riders had the chance to see that for themselves on Tuesday, when the race restarted with a 194km-long stage between Lovere and Ponte di Legno after the last rest day.
One of the youngest riders at the Corsa Rosa, Mikkel Honoré was among the first to attack as soon as the flag was waved from the organisers’ car, instigating a move which ended up containing twenty-one men. Thanks also to the 21-year-old Dane’s strong effort, the group forged a six-minute maximum advantage which began melting on the savage gradients of Mortirolo (11.9km, 10%), the mythical climb making its 14th appearance at the race since 1990, the year it was used for the first time.
As if the gradients weren’t enough, it all turned dantesque when rain began pouring with over 30 kilometers to go. The breakaway group got split, leaving just a small group in front, from where Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) sprinted to victory. One of the last riders dropped from the original break to be caught by the favourites, some two kilometers from the top of Mortirolo, Mikkel talked at the end of the stage about his day in the front.
“We talked this morning about joining the break in case a big group would take off. I had good legs and was part of the first wave of attacks, so I went up the road and did some long pulls, as everyone worked well together. Then, on the Mortirolo, I began feeling tired, especially after all the work I put in during the first part of the Giro. It was the toughest climb I ever did, absolutely brutal, and the cold and rain which joined the race three kilometers from the top didn’t help. On the descent there was some fog, but I felt good there and made up some ground. Overall, I am happy I got to spend the day in the break on such a hard stage”, Mikkel explained after arriving in Ponte di Legno as the highest-ranked Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images