Welcome to the second of our daily shows following this year’s U23 Giro d’Italia.
After each stage, we are bringing you short round-ups of the day’s action, together with audio diaries from the British-registered Holdsworth-Zappi team, Trinity Racing’s Tom Gloag, and SEG Racing and Rayner Foundation rider Harrison Wood.
Stage 2 from Riccione to Imola was 138.2 kilometres long and featured two categorised climbs, both positioned towards the back end of the stage. The last of the climbs, the Cima Gallisterna, was also the final climb in last year’s world road race championships.
The race itself began with the familiar sight of an early break while the rest of the peloton held its fire. The break featured four riders, including Holdsworth-Zappi’s Connor Sens. It was never allowed more than about three minutes, however, and was brought back with around 40 kilometres to go.
Pre-race favourite Juan Ayuso punched clear to lead solo over the top of the Gallisterna. He was joined by his Colpack Ballan teammate Alessandro Verre and Henok Mulubrhan of Team Qhubeka. Despite having just a slender lead, they held off the chasers on the downhill finish, with Ayuso taking the win.
The result moves 18-year-old Ayuso into the overall lead. It’s early days in the race, but given his form this year, it would not be a surprise to see him hold on to pink all the way to the end of the race.
Behind Ayuso, Trinity Racing’s Ben Turner picked up yet another top 10, finishing 8 seconds back in 7th, while our diarist Tom Gloag was also in the mix, crossing the line in 14th at 11 seconds.
It was less positive news for his teammate Ben Healy’s GC hopes, though, as he lost almost two minutes, while diarist Harrison Wood came in in 77th, around three minutes down.
The other Brit, Ollie Rees, endured another tough day, crossing the line 160th. Holdsworth-Zappi’s best finisher, meanwhile, was the Dutch rider Daan Hoeks, in 53rd.
The next stage – stage 3 – is from Cesenatico-Cesenatico. It’s 133km long and features over 2000m of climbing. Most of the climbing comes in the middle of the stage, however, so it’s more likely to be a breakaway day or a reduced bunch finish than a major GC stage.
In our diaries today, we hear first from Tom, who seems pleased with his day’s work despite the heat. Harrison then tells us he didn’t quite have the legs today but is hoping for better as the race progresses, and we also hear from his roommate, the Italian Marco Frigo, who shares his thoughts about stage 3. Finally, we hear from a disappointed Holdsworth-Zappi manager Callum Ferguson, whose team’s GC hopes were dashed today. He once again provides a fascinating insight into the logistical challenges that teams like his face and is hopeful his team can turn their fortunes around as the race develops.
Show sponsored by Continental Tyres.
Featured photo: Giro d’Italia Giovani Under-23