To conclude the second week of racing on Sunday, the Giro d’Italia took the riders to Piancavallo, where Thibaut Pinot had a great ride back in 2017. Today however, the Groupama-FDJ team was built around a sprinter, namely Arnaud Démare, so they did not play a consequent role in the race. They still successfully completed this mountain stage prior to a long-awaited second rest day.

185 kilometers and 4000 meters of elevation gain. This was the menu for the riders on Sunday, between Rivolto Air Base and Piancavallo, before heading to a rest-day in Friuli Venezia Giulia. After a very fast first hour of racing, eleven riders broke away in order to be one step ahead of GC battle and fight for the stage victory. The instructions were quite different for the French Arnaud Démare and his teammates. “We wanted to get over the climbs at least until mid-stage and then to hang on the gruppetto,” explained Sébastien Joly. “They did that perfectly. Arnaud even got caught up in the game and had the physical means to follow the peloton a little longer than expected. He still quickly sat up to join the gruppetto and our six riders found themselves together for the end of the stage. There were also a few valleys so it was important to be gathered.”

“Everyone had a good day”, Sébastien Joly

In front of the race, Rohan Dennis was the last rider from the breakaway to surrender, but his teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart took over perfectly as he got the win at the top of Piancavallo. The Groupama-FDJ’s riders finished about 40 minutes later. “In terms of time limit, we had no worries”, said Sébastien. “It was over fifty minutes, so there was no problem. Everything went well and above all, the weather conditions were pretty good today. On a stage like this, it makes it a lot more enjoyable. It made it possible for everyone to have a good day”. “I had a very good day personally,” Arnaud Démare insisted after his finish. “We had some great landscapes, sun, beautiful roads. It was really cool”. His sporting director eventually added: “It’s true that we arrive in a particularly beautiful region. We are approaching the Alps; we saw a little snow in the distance and at the finish. We really feel that we are getting to the last week of the Giro”.

The second chapter of the Giro therefore closed today, and the third one will start the day after tomorrow. In-between, a most welcome rest day is on the menu. “Compared to last week, we will probably do a more dynamic ride, with a climb, because Tuesday’s stage is quite tough,” concluded Sébastien. “Our coach Anthony Bouillod is in charge of designing the course and Jacopo, who knows the area well, has volunteered to help him. It will still be rather relaxed, but there will be a small “intense” part in order to be in good conditions at the start on Tuesday morning”.

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