Before closing the first – very – long week of the Giro, the riders had to cover a quite short stage 10 on Monday, towards Foligno. Although the bunch lost some guys along the way, a bunch sprint still concluded the day as Peter Sagan took the win. After all the efforts made in the previous days, the Groupama-FDJ’s riders went through the stage without any problem before a well-deserved rest day on Tuesday.

“The guys did not demoralize”, Philippe Mauduit

After two days in white, and three days in pink, Attila Valter got back into the usual Groupama-FDJ’s jersey on Monday, at the start of L’Aquila. Like his teammates and the rest of the bunch, he set off for stage 10 of the Giro, which was set to conclude a longer-than-usual first “week” of racing. Within the Groupama-FDJ, the watchword on Monday was quite simple. “We had to be on the move only if there were big breakaways at the start, and there were none,” explained Philippe Mauduit. “We had to stay peacefully in the bunch and try to spend the quietest day possible. It wasn’t guaranteed as the forecast indicated a lot of side winds today. In the end, we actually had a pretty nervous day, especially in the second half of the race”. The breakaway including Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF), Samuele Rivi (Eolo-Kometa), Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Simon Pellaud (Androni-Sidermec) and Kobe Goossens (Lotto-Soudal) went from the first hundred meters of the race but was not given any space by the sprinters’ teams.

The gap never even got to three minutes, a quick stop at a level crossing did not help, and the peloton then clearly picked up its speed approaching the only categorized climb of the stage. “Sagan and Bora played their card perfectly, and I think everyone expected it,” said Antoine Duchesne. “Therefore, the final was very fast”. In order to get rid of a few sprinters, the team of the three-time world champion clearly increased the tempo and more than a third of the peloton got dropped. “Of course, there are a hundred riders at the finish for the sprint, but there was still a bit of a fight and it was not a day where we could properly take it easy”, said Philippe. “It was not a transition day. Attila finished in the peloton with four of his mates and that’s the main thing. It’s also nice to see that despite the fact we lost the jersey yesterday, the guys didn’t demoralize. They rode well around Attila today and stayed focused. When it was necessary, they were there. It is very good”. After ten stages, the Hungarian is therefore still in fifth place overall in what has been a successful Giro for the team so far.

“Our eight riders are well into it”, Philippe Mauduit

“This first half of the Giro is very satisfying,” Philippe said. “With the white jersey at first, then with the pink jersey, we went beyond the expectations we had when we got to the start. The staff is very committed and the riders surely are in the mix. They are active, proactive and reactive. That’s something nice to witness. There are talks, anticipation, desire and will. It is true that we came without a leader to make a very good GC, but we came with riders who all had the Giro in mind. It’s always an advantage because it’s such a tough race, you can’t afford having riders who don’t care. Our eight riders are well into it, and it is of course easier that way. They all have had a racing program that was supposed to get them to their best shape on this Giro, and that’s also important”. Alongside Arnaud Démare last year during the French champion’s shows on the Giro, Simon Guglielmi lived an entirely different adventure in this 2021 edition. “It really was a great experience to defend the pink jersey”, he said. “Besides that, Attila is very grateful for the work we do. It’s really nice to work for a guy like him. We enjoyed ourselves a lot and we were able to go beyond our limits. I also feel I’m getting better day after day. It bodes well for what’s next”.

What’s next? A rest day, before quite a stage to resume racing: namely the “Strade Bianche” towards Montalcino on Wednesday. “Tomorrow is rest for everyone, except for the staff, who unfortunately do not have a full rest day on a Grand Tour,” recalled Philippe. “We will try to recover well and we will get going again for some more elevation gain,” smiled Simon. “I saw that we only did a third of the total. It’s gonna hurt!” “We are not going to make overly ambitious plans for the rest of the Giro. We take it day by day and we will try to do our best every single time,” concluded Philippe Mauduit.

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