Welcome to the tenth and final episode from our Baby Giro Diary show.
Stage 10 from San Vito al Tagliamento to Castelfranco Veneto was the last stage of this year’s edition of the U23 Giro and it ended on a high for British team Trinity Racing, to cap off an excellent race all round for the development set-up.
As we predicted, the flat-ish parcours didn’t result in any real changes to the GC, but it didn’t give the sprinters their day either. We said it might be a day for the break, even going so far as to tip Trinity Racing’s Ben Turner. But instead it was Trinity’s other Ben – Healy – who took the spoils. And well-deserved they were too.
The opening half of the stage was marked by numerous attacks and escape attempts, with riders desperate to grasp a final opportunity for a stage win. It wasn’t until around the half way point, however, that a meaningful break formed. It contained just three riders: Jacopo Menegotto of the General Store team, Harrison Wood’s SEG Racing teammate Daan Hoole and the Irish road race champion Ben Healy.
A strong group then, and one that quickly carved out a good advantage over the peloton. Just eight kilometres from the finish, the three leaders still had a three minute advantage and it was clear by then that one of them would take stage honours. Healy attacked three kilometres out and kept his lead over Menegotto and Hoole right to the end. He becomes the first ever Irish stage winner at the Baby Giro, a neat landmark to add to his record of being the youngest ever stage winner at the Tour de l’Avenir. He was aggressive all race and the win was no more than he deserved.
The peloton came in 54 seconds behind, containing all of the main GC riders. It means that the prodigious Juan Ayuso wins the Baby Giro in just his first year as as under-23. He seems destined to be one of the WorldTour’s next bright young things. Alongside him on the podium are Tobias Halland Johannessen and Henri Vandenabeele.
It means 4th overall for our diarist Tom Gloag. With Ayuso taking all the acclaim, it’s perhaps easy to overlook what a fantastic performance that is for a rider who is still only in his second year as an under-23. And as he told us when we interviewed him for this podcast, it’s not that long ago that he really started taking racing that seriously. If WorldTour teams hadn’t already had their heads turned by him, it surely won’t be long before suitors begin knocking on his metaphorical door.
Elsewhere on the GC, Healy moves up to 12th, a fine result in itself. And our other diarist Harrison Wood – a relative late starter when it comes to racing – can take a lot of confidence after a resilient performance to finish in 19th overall. We’re certain there is a lot more to come from him in future years.
We should also give shoutouts to the other Brits in the race. Ben Turner animated the race, especially in the early stages, even taking the race lead for a day. The cyclocross talent has had an outstanding start to his road season and it’s surely just a matter of time before he picks up his first UCI road race win. And whilst Ollie Rees may not have made headlines with his result, we know that he put in a lot of solid teamwork to support Tom and the Bens in the race, a role which is oft-overlooked but absolutely vital nonetheless.
We want to say a huge thank you to both Tom and Harrison. It was a last-minute decision to do this daily diary show, yet both of them embraced my request to send in dispatches. We are hugely grateful to them both for taking the time to record their thoughts and help to illuminate one of the most under-reported yet potentially career-changing races around. Thanks too to Callum at Holdsworth-Zappi. His dispatches in the early shows provided a fascinating insight into life as a team manager at a race like this. We know hectic circumstances have prevented Callum from sending in dispatches since then, but we appreciate his contribution nonetheless.
And thank too to you, the listeners. We hope you’ve enjoyed these shows. It’s something we might consider doing again later on in the season, so it would be great to hear your feedback about what worked well and how we could improve too.
In his final dispatch, Tom is also joined by Ben Healy in a fantastically entertaining entry. While Harrison sends his in relaxed mood from Venice. What more could you want…
Warning: show begins with a strong swear word!
Show sponsored by Continental Tyres.
Featured photo: Giro d’Italia Giovani Under-23