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Wet, rainy conditions favor the bold in bike racing. It seems to also favor our ducks in Italy as Ruben Guerreiro took a second mountain top stage win for EF Pro Cycling at the 2020 Giro d’Italia on a day marked by torrential rain and lot’s of climbing.
The 208km course from San Salvo to Roccaraso was labeled as the queen stage across the Apennines with over 4,000m of altitude gain on 4 categorized climbs. With plenty of mountain classification points up for grabs and a stage profile that looked suited for a breakaway win, it took awhile for the break to get established. But finally, eight riders would ride off the front of the peloton – including our own Ruben Guerreiro – right before the first categorized climb of the day.
The breakaway would build up a handy advantage over the peloton, stretching the time gap out to right around 6 minutes, where it would stay for most of the day. Ruben, who also had a shot of gaining control of the mountains classification at the end of the day, fought for every mountain classification point possible, sprinting over the top of nearly every single categorized climb. But in order to get the jersey, he needed to cross the line finish first as well.
With 35km remaining, the attacks started to fly out of the breakaway. Mikkel Bjerg (UAE) put in the first dig, shedding a few riders in the process. The group would work together for another 30km before Castroviejo (INS) launched a decisive attack that was only matched by Guerreiro. The two of them would ride together until the final kilometer where, with 200m to go, Ruben launched his sprint and distanced the Ineos veteran, giving himself enough time to savor his victory across the line.
This not only marks Ruben’s first World Tour stage win but it is also Portugal’s first Giro d’Italia stage win in 31 years. On Tuesday, Ruben will get to wear the blue mountains classification jersey as well. But first, the team will be able to savor their two stage victories on a well deserved rest day tomorrow.
Hear from the team below:
Matti Breschel – Sport Director
“It’s amazing, I still can’t believe what just happened. Ruben Guerreiro rode like a champion today, it was a strong group, from the start he wanted to be in the breakaway, he was there and he rode the final perfectly. Definitely an amazing day for us.”
“He’s an amazing character, an amazing person, he’s a little bit like an artist on the bike, he wants to do a lot of things, but when he’s calm, he’s a really, really fantastic bike rider. He was close to winning a stage in the Vuelta last year and this year he’s only been progressing, and during the lockdown he was very professional. He’s been very motivated to do well in this Giro and finally he’s had some success.”
“He was telling me all day that he was feeling good, that he had good legs, I kept asking him during the day if he was ok, I don’t think the weather really existed for him today, he was just looking at the finish line.”
Ruben Guerreiro – Rider
“Finally, what a great satisfaction after so many second places! The team and I really deserved this victory. It was very difficult to get into the breakaway this morning and it’s extraordinary to win today.”
“In professional cycling, it’s so hard to win. This is my fourth year as a professional and it feels incredible to take the win after such a hard day. I’m really cold and wet right now, but I know I will be warm soon. It’s amazing to take the second win for the team and I worked so much for this. It’s amazing.”
Jonathan Vaughters – CEO
“Ruben likes to pick fights. Today he picked one, and he knew how to stick it. Bravo.”