Welten Sprints to Second on Giro d’Italia U23 Stage 19. June 2017, Imola (ITA) — Development Team
The sprinters were denied the chance to go for victory on Giro d’Italia U23 stage 1 with Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) taking a solo win in Imola as Bram Welten proved he had the fastest legs in the bunch, crossing the line second.
It was a battle to get into the first breakaway of the Giro d’Italia U23 with the peloton covering over 30km, of the 132.2km course, before giving three riders the freedom go clear at the front of the race.
Less than 20km later, the breakaway’s advantage had risen to almost three minutes before it settled at around 2’30” until the race entered the closing 30km of the race.
With BMC Development Team leading the chase going onto the last climb of the day, the Cina Tre Monti, the final breakaway rider was within sight.
Eventually with just 10km to go, the race was back together heading over the top of the climb and onto the fast descent.
The speed of the descent saw the peloton split in two with Neilson Powless taking advantage of the situation and attacking off the front and taking a solo victory in Imola.
Behind him, the bunch came back together with BMC Development Team setting Welten up for his final sprint to finish second on day one in Italy.
Pascal Eenkhoorn and Pavel Sivakov were involved in a crash inside the final kilometer but were both able to get back on the bike and finish the stage.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I think stage one went pretty well for us. It wasn’t a long stage and the climbs weren’t too hard. The climb before the finish was steep though and at this point the bunch started to accelerate. I slipped back a little bit with Pascal Eenkhoorn so, when the bunch split I was in the second group. Unfortunately when the two groups came back together, there was still one guy in front but the guys did a really good lead out for me. I’m a bit disappointed because I like to win but winning the sprint and finishing second isn’t bad either.”
“I showed today that my speed is there and my form is there. There a couple of hard stages to come so, for me it will be about helping the team as much as I can and then on the next predicted sprint stage I will give it 100% again.”
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“Today went well for us. Three guys went up the road and we put Tanguy Turgis up at the front to lead the chase. He did a really good job as we knew he would. After the first climb of the day we started to slowly bring the gap down and on the last climb, the final rider was just ten seconds ahead. It was a very fast and technical descent and the peloton split in two. Bram Welten and Pascal Eenkhoorn were in the group behind and that’s when Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) attacked and eventually took the win. When Bram came back, the guys started the chase but, unfortunately it was too late. It’s a pity because Bram was the fastest guy today and we missed out on the win. I think we expected more so now, we have to look ahead to the next few stages.”
Giro d’Italia U23
Stage 1: Imola > Imola, 132.2km
Top 3: 1. Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) 2. Bram Welten (BMC Development Team) 3. Giovanni Lonardi (Team General Store)