19-year-old Tiberi shines in Hungary

The young Italian climbs to 3rd place in the Tour of Hungary with one day remaining

Antonio Tiberi signed a contract with Trek-Segafredo immediately after winning the 2019 Junior World Championship TT title but waited until 2021 to join the team.  A prudent decision after the young Italian, who has already shown plenty of sparks this year racing against the WorldTour teams, crossed the line in 3rd place in the summit finish of Stage 4 at the Tour of Hungary.

Four of the five stages in Hungary suit the sprinters, with Saturday’s penultimate stage showcasing a climb to the finish and one decisive opportunity for the general classification.

“I’m very happy with the result and the performance today,” said Tiberi at the finish. “Since the beginning of the race, I had better and better feelings, and I hoped and wanted to do well today, the only day where I could try to have my say.”

Antonio Tiberi during the 2021 Tour De Romandie prologue.

How it unfolded

A breakaway of four riders animated most of the race but could never gain a sizeable lead with the summit finish looming and the overall classification up for grabs.

Tiberi explained: “The start was fast and hard-fought until the breakaway was able to gain enough advantage. The leader’s team Bahrain-Victorious always kept them at a safe margin. As the final climb approached, the pace increased as Bike Exchange and Israel Start-Up pushed hard and caught the breakaway on the first kilometers of the climb.”

With the breakaway contained, the race for the overall podium was on and Team Caja Rural took up the reins, setting a hard pace. The climb steepened in the last three kilometers,  trimming down the leading bunch, and the first attack came from Caja Rural’s Jhojan Garcia with 1.8 kilometers to go. Tiberi anticipated the move and tried to follow but eased back when he saw he was pacing the entire group.

“We rode with a regular pace until around three kilometers to go,  and Garcia from Caja Rural attacked,” said Tiberi. “I tried to follow him, but then I gave up thanks to (director Yaroslav) Popovich’s suggestion from the team car.”

The subsequent attacks came from the expected hitters, with Damian Howson (Team BikeExchange) and Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation) kicking it into top gear. Tiberi was the only rider to respond.

“Then I waited for the best of the group and their moves,” continued Tiberi. “In the last kilometer Howson and Hermans attacked, I tried to follow them, but it was too hard. I made it in time to catch Garcia and take the podium.”

It was youth chasing experience, the next generation chasing the last, and it would finish in that order: Howson, Hermans, Tiberi.

“On the last climb, I gave everything; I wanted to test myself,” ended Tiberi. “I’m very satisfied with third because I also got the third place in the general classification. Tomorrow’s last stage is 90kms, all flat. I’ll race to defend it as there are still some bonus seconds at disposal and the advantage on Garcia is only eight seconds. Finishing the race on the podium would be a great result!”