The team's strong, cohesive effort moves Mollema into 4th overall and Ciccone back into blue at the Giro d'Italia.
It was not in the plan to put four riders in the day’s escape. But when the opportunity presented itself at the start of stage 13 in the Giro d’Italia Friday, Bauke Mollema jumped.
To his disbelief, Bauke found himself with three teammates – Gianluca Brambilla, Giulio Ciccone, and Nicola Conci – and it was the move that stuck.
It was not planned, we wanted to have guys in the break, and we just saw the opportunity. I saw other GC guys start to jump and I jumped only once, but it was the good move, and then I was there with 3 teammates. It was the perfect group.
Trek-Segafredo went to work.
For nearly five hours they pulled the breakaway. First Conci. Then Brambilla put himself on the front as pace-maker over the next climb and through the valley, saving Mollema and Ciccone for the final long ascent. Along the way, Ciccone grabbed the mountain points giving him the lead again and the maglia azzurra he has worn since the first day before Brambilla borrowed it briefly for stage 12.
“I didn’t have to do too much effort to get in the break and was nice to have three teammates there,” said Mollema. “Conci was pulling a lot in the first part in the flat, then Brambi for a long time in the valley and second climb, and then Ciccone. So it was the perfect day for us.”
Brambilla continued to work until 20 uphill kilometers remained.
Before the last climb, I thought the peloton was coming back, but suddenly we had over one and a half minutes again. Ciccone was pulling so hard there on the last climb, it was perfect. I think everyone was also really tired behind, so it was just a fight for everybody.
With 7.5 kilometers of climb remaining, Ciccone had emptied his tank and turned the reins over to Mollema. Only three riders remained. With slightly under five kilometers to go, Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) made his move, taking Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) with him and leaving Mollema behind.
“In the last 5K I had to let the first guys go, it was a pity to lose some time to them, but I was really on my limit there,” pointed out Mollema. “I had some trouble there after a hard day, but in the end, I think it was a really good day for us.”
Zakarin went on to win and Nieve took second. Mollema was caught from behind by two riders and crossed in fifth place. It was enough though to gain time on a few rivals and placed him in fourth overall.
It was all-in on the final climb when we saw we had 2 minutes again. It was a nice day, a hard day for everyone, but for sure you would like to have a little bit more.
- DS Kim Andersen
Today was the hardest stage so far, and also the best team effort we have had. We grabbed the opportunity and tried all day to take the most time for the GC for Bauke. In the last climb, I was in the front with four other riders, and when Bauke came back I started to pull full gas. I am happy for the team - it was an important day, and I am happy for the team and for me.