One of the best neo-pros of 2016, the Italian confirmed again his potential and versatility.
Sprint from a reduced group, put in a strong time trial, go over hills and fight for a good GC, Davide Martinelli proved he can do it all in the months that have passed since signing with Etixx – Quick-Step. Winner of a stage in Tour La Provence and part of the team that helped Marcel Kittel get a record fourth victory in Scheldeprijs, the 23-year-old didn't came with too much expectations at the start of the 30th edition of Ster ZLM Toer, but as the race progressed, he found the legs to fight for a good place in the overall standings and showcase his talent.
The final day of the Dutch race was a completely flat one, but very nervous, as many riders were interested in a bunch gallop. Attacks came during the stage, but none of them sticked until the end, so the peloton was all together for the last 10 kilometers. With around 900 meters to go, a crash occurred in the pack and it held up many sprinters, who lost any chance of fighting for the victory. Wim Stroetinga (Parkhotel Valkenburg) took advantage of this and outfoxed LottoNL-Jumbo duo Dylan Groenewegen and Sep Vanmarcke, who won the overall classification.
Fortunately, no Etixx – Quick-Step rider was involved in the crash, which meant Davide Martinelli safely completed the stage between Someren and Boxtel (186 kilometers) and finished the event in 5th place, 23 seconds behind the winner. Following Sunday's race, and just before embarking on a flight back home, Davide explained what this result means for him: "I can't believe it, to do a top 5 in a short stage race in my first year as a pro is a big achievement. On Saturday, in the most important stage, I was able to stay with some of the best riders, some of them with many World Tour seasons under their belt. I am satisfied with this and I look with even more confidence to the National Championships, where I hope to be at a good level."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele