Giulio outsprints some big name climbers to win stage two and claim the leader’s jersey.
Giulio Ciccone sprinted to the win in the summit finish for stage two at the Tour du Haut Var Saturday, besting some established climbers to the line and also claiming the overall lead in the three-day race.
Ciccone already proved he was a man to watch in a tricky stage one, arriving at the finish with a select group of 14 riders and sprinting to third place behind winner Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Education First). He one-upped that in a grueling mountain top finish in stage two Saturday, outgunning Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) to take his first victory with Trek-Segafredo.
“Today was a fantastic day!” exclaimed Ciccone. “I really wanted to win to finish off the great work done by the whole team the whole day. Also, in yesterday’s stage, we came really close, but we saw a grandiose Vanmarcke who was obviously more of a specialist for the first stage. Today, on the contrary, the stage was tailored to my characteristics as a rider. We were protagonists the whole day.”
I really want to thank the whole team and the guys for their work and for the giant opportunity they gave me today. I am happy with my first victory in the Trek-Segafredo jersey, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible!
While it was the first win for Ciccone, it was also the first victory for Gregory Rast in his new role with the team.
“Yes, it’s my first race as a director! A nice way to start,” admitted Gregory Rast. “What can I say? Giulio has been incredible. He was third yesterday, and now he won today on a mountain top finish. Okay, it’s not the biggest race in the world, but it’s been full gas racing here for both days and when you see the podium… It’s almost a Tour de France podium, and Ciccone beat them all.
“He had unbelievable help from Fabio Felline and Jarlinson Pantano. They did an amazing job, and also the rest of the guys to always keep them up front. He won in a sprint after a long climb with a tricky descent in the middle. And now tomorrow we will be defending the jersey!”
With no time bonus on offer in the finishes, seven riders are at the same time in the overall classification. The final day will be decisive, finishing on the challenging Mont Faron in Toulon (5.5 km and 9%).