– What happened? –
Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) leads the Giro d’Italia, cycling’s first Grand Tour of the season, after the centenary edition of the race began with three stages in the Italian island of Sardinia.
Gaviria won the Giro d’Italia’s final stage in Sardinia, after the bunch shattered in strong cross-winds, and the Colombian sprinter made it into the front split with five team-mates. Gaviria is the fourth Colombian ever to lead the Giro d’Italia.
The Giro d’Italia’s first stage was taken by Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) with a spectacular late solo attack, and the second by Germany’s André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) in a bunch sprint. Gaviria predicted that his spell in pink would end on the slopes of Mount Etna on Tuesday, but added that he was proud to be the first Colombian sprinter to lead the Giro d’Italia. “It broadens our perspective of the sport,” the 22-year-old commented, “because now Colombians are succeeding on the flat stages of Grand Tours, not only in the mountains.”
Team Katusha Alpecin secured one of the biggest triumphs of their season to date on Monday when Alexander Kristoff took a rain-soaked triumph in the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt ahead of team-mate Rick Zabel. Germany’s John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) finished third.
Kristoff and Zabel were part of a much-reduced lead bunch of 16 riders, with Team Katusha-Alpecin leading the pack into the final metres of the German one-day Classic. Kristoff is the first rider to win the German Classic race on three successive occasions and it is his first UCI WorldTour win since 2015.
– What’s next? –
Amgen Tour of California: Sunday May 14th – Saturday May 20th
– Focus on: Magnus Cort Nielsen –
One of Denmark’s most promising young Classics racers, at 24, Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) already has already won two Grand Tour stages, in last year’s Vuelta a España. A professional since 2013, Nielsen’s first major results came in the Post Danmark Rundt – Tour of Denmark that year, capturing two stages and leading the race when he was just 19. But with Orica-Scott, which he joined as a stagiare mid-way through 2014, team management are convinced his future may well be as a top Classics rider. After breaking his collarbone in the Tour de Yorkshire this spring, Nielsen is currently getting over his injuries – but some more Classics will surely be on his schedule when he recovers.
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