Once again, it’s Cicco time

Showtime by Giulio Ciccone on the final day of the Critérium du Dauphiné. “It’s been a hard few weeks, but I knew what I’ve done so far in the season was still there”

It didn’t take too long for Ciccone to get back on track. If Dauphiné was, by intention, the race to get some feedback on the road to the Tour de France, after more than a month away from racing… well, here it is.

Giulio won the final stage of the French race with a show of strength, as he already did earlier in the season at Volta Valenciana and Volta Catalunya. Today, he faced the challenge of getting in the breakaway with riders like Alaphilippe and Benoot (just to name a couple). Climb after climb, Ciccone made his performance stronger and stronger. The leaders’ group, behind him, never let up, leaving a maximum advantage of only 2’30”.

Kilometer after kilometer, the breakaway lost protagonists and actors, until the moment, at 25km to go, when Giulio broke the tie and went on a solo mission. A challenge of one against all: Vingegaard, Yates, O’Connor, Hindley. Despite their efforts, Cicco kept the distance and the last ramp up to Grenoble La Bastille (2km at an average of 14%) was the springboard to the finish line, where he celebrated his third win of the season and winning, in addition, the mountain jersey.

Ciccone is there and now, for him, comes the wedding with Annabruna, before the Italian Championships and the appointment for the second Grande Boucle of his career.

The win in Cicco’s words

The final 500 meters of today’s stage were really long but, you know, with all the people there it was really nice. Also, when I looked behind and saw I was still in front with a good gap I just went full gas straight and I’m really happy.

It was really difficult all day because the guys behind kept the gap really small. For the head, it was not easy from the start to the finish. The feeling was like I was doing one TT. I took some risks in the last downhill and on the final climb I just pushed full gas knowing that the finish line was just there.

This year, the Giro was in my program and then I got covid just before. I had to skip that and then had about 10 days off the bike. My condition was not 100 percent, but I started here with the Tour in my mind and this week, I could see I was getting better and better. This win is a good final point.

The mountain jersey is really nice. It’s one of my favourite jersey. To be honest, this week, I never thought about it. Also today, Campenaerts was with us in the breakaway and took his points. I just followed. My thought was only about the stage.

The Tour de France is now really close but before that I get married next week and this is a gift for my future wife. My goal is always the same. I really would like to win one stage in the Tour and I really like this jersey so we go there and stay focused and see day by day.