Is Giulio Ciccone in the best form of his career?

The Italian climber finishes second behind Egan Bernal on the Campo Felice gravel finish of Giro Stage 9

It has been hard to rein in Giulio Ciccone this Giro. When the feeling’s good, he wants to fly.

Ciccone knew coming into the 104th Giro d’Italia he would not be an unknown commodity like years past. Still, the 26-year-old showed again in Stage 9 that when the legs are good – and his arguably may be the best we’ve seen from the Italian climber – the results will follow.

There was no stopping a vicious acceleration from Egan Bernal within the last kilometer of Stage 9, but Giulio Ciccone was not far off his pace. He finished in second at seven seconds and notably ahead of the rest of the favorite general classification contenders.  He now sits in 4th overall.

Giulio did not come into this year’s race with any GC ambitions (his first leadership role in a Grand Tour set for the Vuelta) and is not expected to vie for the overall podium, but the way Ciccone has been riding nine days into the three-week tour, his role and goals just may change.

However, there is a long way to go to Milan, and we all know that one bad moment in the mountains can alter the GC in a heartbeat.  For now, though, we will relish in the Ciccone’s good form.  And aim for one step higher.