Remco Evenepoel moves back onto the overall podium after a solid ride on stage 6.
A shake-up of the Corsa Rosa general classification was guaranteed Thursday, and when it came down to crunch time, Deceuninck – Quick-Step delivered in spectacular fashion. Heavy rain made for another tough day in the saddle, but the Wolfpack made sure of protecting Remco Evenepoel when crosswinds split the peloton some 100 kilometers into the stage, while at the front eight attackers were establishing what proved to be a decisive five-minute lead over the bunch.
On the San Giacomo climb (15.5km, 6.1%), our team took over the reins in the small bunch, with Fausto Masnada putting in a monster shift that whittled down the bunch to just a dozen men. When one rider tried to anticipate the finale, the Italian remained cool as a cucumber and reeled him in, before last year’s Giro d’Italia João Almeida took over, continuing to tap out a solid tempo that distanced many riders. The big moves came with two kilometers to go, just as the gradients stiffened, and Remco Evenepoel, unfazed by the strong headwind, responded with ease to all the attacks of his rivals.
Soon, a four-man group formed, but they couldn’t catch the last survivor of the breakaway, Gino Maeder (Bahrain-Victorious), who took the win. Showing incredible resilience and composure, Evenepoel concluded just a few seconds down on the Swiss and made an impressive leap of five places in the general classification, where he sits second, just 11 seconds from the maglia rosa.
“I am happy with how I felt on the final climb. It wasn’t easy out there with the low temperatures we had and all that rain, but I had an amazing team around me, who made things much easier and protected me all the time, for which I am very grateful. Thanks to their effort, I could keep my energy for the final climb, where I got a good result. Now it’s time for some rest, but the good thing is that six days into the race we are up there, which is great for the confidence”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 21-year-old Grand Tour debutant.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images