Giulio Ciccone showed brains and brawn to snatch the win at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and slips into the leaders jersey
How it happened
There was barely a flat meter in the second stage of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which meant the peloton hit the final climb with 3000 meters of climbing in their already stinging legs. Ineos Grenadiers set the pace on the final ascent, a three-kilometer ramp to Alto de Pinos, as riders were shed from the group. Giulio kept his cool, waiting for his moment to strike. A dangerous attack was brought back inside the final kilometer leaving everything to play for.
Cicco smelt victory. When Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) launched his bid for victory, some 400 meters from the line, Giulio jumped straight onto his wheel as others scrambled behind. The final corner came 250 meters from the line, and as soon as Cicco spotted it he launched his sprint past Landa,leaving him enough room to post up and savor his success. It wouldn’t be a Giulio Ciccone victory without his signature celebration: the Italian launched his 100% sunglasses in the air, destined to make one lucky fan as happy as Cicco.
With 10 bonus seconds on offer to the winner, Giulio moves into the lead of the race by four seconds with three hilly stages remaining. The Trek-Segafredo boys will be right behind him to help bring home the GC win.
Cicco style 😎 pic.twitter.com/WoG8JppORk
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) February 2, 2023
In the winner’s words
It was a very hard stage, and we knew since the beginning that today we could have fireworks and be competitive. In days like this tactics are very important and we knew we are a strong enough Team to have our say. We’re only with five riders, but what mattered today was the quality of the team. My teammates did an amazing job putting me in the best position, lots of kudos to them. We rode really well, I saved energy in the peloton as much as possible and then we want all-in in the finale. Our DS Gregy [Rast] kept us calm repeating to stay in the first wheels until that the last corner, at 200 meters. That was the key moment. Everyone knows my attacking instinct, maybe that’s why he repeated this so many times. In the end, I kept a cool mind and followed my good feeling in the legs. Winning is never easy, but this morning I was optimistic of my chance. The desire to win was strong in my mind.
Now I have the leader’s jersey and of course I’ll fight to keep it until the end. Volta Valenciana is definitely not an easy race. We’ll have some hard days, with lots of climbs and lots can happen. We’re only five in the Team, but we’re strong and we’ll fight to try win the GC.
I was really motivated to not lose the chance to start this season with a win. I had a good preparation, a good winter and I knew my condition was at a good level. I have several goals and targets for this season and today’s win is boost of confidence for what will come. We’re only at the start of the season, but it’s good to kick off the season with this win. Anyway, now it’s time, for me and for the Team to enjoy the win.