The 12th of May will remain a symbolic day in Attila Valter’s career. On stage 5 of the 2021 Giro, won by Caleb Ewan, the 22-year-old Hungarian rider was able to show off his white jersey throughout the 177 kilometers to Cattolica on the Adriatic seaside. Tomorrow he will try to hold on to his jersey as much as possible in the final climb to Ascoli Piceno.
“Everybody lost their minds”, Attila Valter
For his first day with the “maglia bianca” on his shoulders, Attila Valter did not spend such a traditional stage on Wednesday, on the almost completely straight route across Emilia-Romagna. Only two men, namely Filippo Tagliani (Androni-Sidermec) and Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF), certainly broke away right from the start in this sprinters’ stage. However, the leading duo was caught even before the halfway mark: a hundred kilometers from the finish line. It was the result of a very contested intermediate sprint in the peloton, but it was also due to the increased tension at this point in the race. “Like all days when the weather is very uncertain, the race was a bit hectic today,” explained Philippe Mauduit. “This is what we expected this morning already as many weather sites gave completely different forecasts. So when meteorologists don’t really know what’s going to happen, it often leads to unpredictable days. It adds tension within the peloton. When the wind calms down, everyone recovers, and when the wind starts blowing again, everyone gets nervous.”
Thirty kilometers after the bunch got all together for the first time, Simon Pellaud (Androni-Sidermec) and Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF) went up front to make the race a bit more lively, though the sprinters’ teams did not leave them a large gap. Within the peloton, the white jersey tried to take advantage of every moment of peace he could get. “It was enjoyable, at least for the first forty kilometers,” said Attila. “We took it super easy at first with only two guys in front. But then there was just a little wind, and everybody lost their minds! It was super hectic. If you look at the average power, it is lower than a recovery day for a professional rider, but it was really tiring mentally, especially in the final with all these crashes. The last 50 kilometres was like riding in the last five all the time! In the end, I don’t think it was such an easy day.” In the last kilometers, several contenders for the general classification hit the deck and Mikel Landa was even forced to leave the race.
“Attila is determined to fight”, Philippe Mauduit
Attila Valter and all of his teammates finished in the bunch while Caleb Ewan sprinted to the win. “In all the important sequences of the race, they were there at the front”, noted Philippe. “When the time allowed it, they could also recover in the middle or at the back of the pack. Either way, they handled the day really well and did the right thing when needed.” “These are not my favourite days, but at least the legs will for sure be better tomorrow than they were today”, added the young Hungarian. He will need them indeed on Thursday for the first long climb of the Giro, towards Ascoli Piceno (15.5 km at 6%). Now fourth in the overall standings, Attila Valter is just 20 seconds or so ahead of his first white jersey contenders. “I’m super happy to keep it one more day and I’ll do my best tomorrow as well to try to defend him,” he commented. “I know it won’t be easy against such a good competition, but I’m already happy that I achieved such a result”. “It’s also not impossible that he manages to hang on to this jersey,” Philippe said. “It will also depend on the race’s circumstances. There is a little hope, and he is determined to fight”.