From Rome with love

The Giro ended with the second place of Kirsch in the final stage and a trip to the podium for Skujiņš for his courage in the breakaways. A ride of twenty-one stages, through rain and fatigue, where the Trek-Segafredo guys showed what they are made of.

The curtain has come down on the Giro d’Italia 2023. In the splendor of Rome, the Corsa Rosa staged its final act. With the iconic Colosseum in the background, racing on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, the battery of the fast men gave life to the last sprint. Bravo to Cavendish (Astana) for his triumph, but also chapeau to Alex Kirsch, Mads Pedersen’s trusted man for the sprints, the prototype of the lead out, who took a beautiful second place.

It's a great personal satisfaction. We came to help Mads win a stage and we succeeded. A good sprint is the result of constant effort and work. These are mechanisms of timing and positioning in the peloton to try and try again. Every sprint you try to do better than the one before.

Without Mads for the sprints, a lot has changed for us compared to expectations, but we did well to get back into the game, resetting our focus. A few days ago, the sprint didn't go so well, today we improved. I thank the team, who believed in me and helped me. I know I'm fast, because otherwise I wouldn't be a lead-out man, but obviously there is a big difference between leading in the last kilometer and sprinting in the last few hundred meters. It was a good opportunity; this meant a lot to me - Alex Kirsch

A podium on the last stage is definitely something Alex will carry in his suitcase of memories, just as Toms Skujiņš will remember his first Giro d’Italia as one of the best Grand Tours of his career (until now, of course…).

Yesterday, Toms went again on the attack, for the sixth time in the twenty-one stages of the Giro. A breakaway that was extremely difficult to take to the finish line, but which nonetheless testifies to the fighting spirit, consistency, and excellent form with which the Latvian tackled the race. In the end, he was also on the podium in Rome, because his effort in the breakaway earned him the special intermediate sprint classification.

Before putting the experience on the roads of Italy behind him for good, a postcard photo could not be missed at the finish line. Here they are, the smiling faces of our five survivors of the Corsa Rosa. Alex Kirsch on the left, Toms Skujiņš on the right. In the middle, Bauke Mollema, also this year in the hunt for that stage victory that would allow him to complete his personal slam in the Grand Tour stages. Then, Otto Vergaerde, whose contribution to the team cannot be underestimated, stoic in finishing the race with a couple of broken ribs. Finally, young Daan Hoole, who completed the first Grand Tour of his career.

A special mention of course also goes to those who were not in Rome but would have liked to have been there, starting with Mads Pedersen. The winner of the stage in Napoli promised that he will return to the Giro in the future, because the challenge for the ciclamino jersey is still an unfinished business. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier had to raise the white flag before stage 16, due to a bad crash two days earlier. Until then, Amanuel had been one of the most valuable elements of the Team. Last but not least, Natnael Tesfazion, knocked out by Covid on stage 10, who will return to the Giro in the future to show his talent in the mountains.

Well, let the pink lights go out. See you next year, Giro.