Strong performance by the Italian in the only summit finish stage of the race
There was very, very little separating Giulio Ciccone and victory in the queen stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico. At the finish line in Sassotetto, the Italian of Trek-Segafredo conceded only to Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) at the end of a tight sprint with Geoghegan Hart (Ineos), the third.
As soon as I crossed the finish line, the disappointment was strong, because the legs were there and the victory was narrowly missed. With a cool mind, and especially looking to who beat me, I accept the result with more serenity: finishing second behind Roglic is a sweet defeat.
Ciccone’s first thought is the one that, best of all, sums up his day. Giulio did not lack the courage and the clarity to manage a very tactical finish at his best, which came at the end of a tough day characterized by very strong winds, especially on the final climb.
A battle was expected today, but the headwind prevented the race from exploding. Despite this, Ciccone’s action with just over a kilometer to go lit the fuse between the GC favorites. Among all the big names present at Tirreno-Adriatico, only Roglic managed to better Giulio.
In the general classification, Ciccone sits 9th at 24″ from the Slovenian of Jumbo-Visma, the new leader of the race.
With a cool mind, and especially looking to who beat me, I accept the result with more serenity: finishing second behind Roglic is a sweet defeat.
I feel really good, the condition is there and I think I proved it. I really thank my teammates because they did an amazing job all the day. Everything went as I wanted. In short, we just narrowly missed the full result, but I think we can be satisfied.
The weather today made the day really tough and affected the stage in a consistent way from start to finish. We took the last climb with a select but still dense group, and until the last kilometer there was no way to make a real difference: headwind was too strong and the climb not so steep to make further selection. There was a lot of control, everyone were hesitating to attack because the risk of making a wasteful effort was strong.
Caruso’s action was brave and, without a somewhat decisive reaction, could have been successful. My attack before the last kilometer served to break the balance; it served as a push for Mas’s attack that caught Caruso. Looking back, I could have supported and followed up further to avoid that moment of control that allowed others to come back. Also, because of the wind, the signs marking the meters to the finish line were missing and I had no reference until the last corner. In short, a hint of regret for the finale still stays.
Tomorrow, in my opinion, will be the toughest stage of this Tirreno-Adriatico. The general classification is very tight, surely something will happen: we will also be in the game.