Caruso and De Marchi in the Breakaway on Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 23. April 2018, Bermeo (ESP) — Road Team
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco stage 2 marked the start of a new race for BMC Racing Team this week with Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi leading the way as part of the day’s breakaway before another explosive finale.
It was battle from the moment the flag dropped today with attack after attack, several of which included BMC Racing Team, being pulled back by the main bunch which split into two parts due to the intense pace being set over the opening 30km.
The gap between the first peloton and the second was sitting at around 1’20” as the riders began to climb the first of four categorized climbs before, following another string of attacks, a group of 11 riders was drawn out at the front of the race.
Caruso and De Marchi both made the selection and by the time the breakaway reached the foot of the category one Almika-Sollube climb, with just over 70km to go, its advantage over the re-grouped peloton was sitting at around 2’30”.
However, the main bunch sensed the danger of letting this group get too far up the road and Caruso, De Marchi and rest of the breakaway were pulled back to 1’30” going past the 50km to go mark.
The leaders continued to push hard up ahead and as they headed onto the penultimate climb of the day, the 3.2km ascent up to Jata, their advantage was holding steady.
As a result, a determined chase began behind with race leader, Julian Alaphilippe’s Quick-Step Floors teammates setting the tempo at the front of the bunch as the gap fell to inside one minute with less than 25km to go.
The attacks at the front of the race soon started and Caruso and De Marchi were able to keep up with the increase in pace before a final solo effort from David Lopez (Team Sky) saw him go clear momentarily as the race ultimately came back together with less than 10km to go.
Almost immediately riders began to try their luck with Dylan Teuns able to respond to the initial moves before an attack from Alaphilippe saw a group of four riders go clear over the top of the final climb with just 5km to go.
The quartet was holding onto a narrow 15-second advantage approaching the flamme rouge and in the end, this proved just enough to see them battle for the stage win with Alaphilippe once again taking the day’s honors.
Teuns continued to work hard in a tricky finale which saw the course take a 90 degree turn on to a steep kick up to the line with less than 300m to go and he eventually finished in the second chase group, 58 seconds back.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“I think it was the right decision to go in the breakaway today because it is important to show for yourself and also for the team, that we can react like this after yesterday’s bad luck. In this kind of stage, you never know what might happen so that also made it an important day to try an go in the breakaway. In the end, it was a good race for us but the problem was that the bunch didn’t give us too much space so finally we came away with nothing. However, my sensations were good today and we will keep looking for opportunities over the rest of the week.”
Alessandro De Marchi:
“It was a good day in the end. We played our cards in the best way we could and we knew that it was going to be difficult to bring the breakaway to the finish. In the beginning, it was difficult to find the right move and I am happy that I was able to make it in the group as it showed I had the legs. You never know what might happen so you have to try. I am still motivated for the rest of the week. Today was just the first shot. This is a good week full of opportunities and for sure, I will try again and see what I can take away from the race. I need to go deep for both the legs and for the mind.”
"Once the breakaway was caught, the key point was the last climb. I was in a good position at the beginning but maybe 1.5km from the top there were some attacks and it was just a bit too fast for me. I tried to follow behind and I had some good feelings but I couldn't reach the front group which I am a little disappointed about. I'm getting better step by step though and today was a good day. Yesterday, I had some bad luck and I am already happier with how today went. I think I am definitely improving every day."
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“The message coming into today’s stage was not to lose hope. Of course, we had a bad day yesterday with a lot of bad luck but today, the direction of the team was good. There was a good spirit and we were in almost all of the breakaway attempts from the start and finally we had Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi in the successful move of the day. Unfortunately, that group didn’t arrive at the finish but we saw that we are there. Dylan Teuns was also good at the beginning of the last climb but in the end the guys in front were stronger. We showed that we are still here ready to fight and we will continue to try and win a stage. That is our objective now.”
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
Stage 2: Zarautz > Bermeo, 166.7km
Top 3: 1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Primož Roglič (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 3. Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 28. Dylan Teuns 79. Danilo Wyss 93. Simon Gerrans