The Swiss came close to his second victory at the race, on the mountainous stage 19.
Our team had a plan at the start of Friday’s 178km trek between Marano Lagunare and Santuario di Castelmonte, and that was to make it into the breakaway, which took almost one hour to form on the plains of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. When a group finally zipped clear, we had both Davide Ballerini and Mauro Schmid there, and the duo helped the large group take their gap to a whooping ten minutes before hitting the hardest climb on the route, Kolovrat (10.3km, 9.2%).
A series of accelerations on the steepest parts of the ascent played a decisive role in splitting the breakaway, leaving only a handful of riders in the front, including Mauro, who rode intelligently the last 40 kilometers of the stage, as he was aware the difference could be made only in the final part of the last climb. After responding to two attacks inside the closing three kilometers of the stage, which he expertly shut down, Schmid took over the reins in the group and led until with 200 meters to go.
There he opened his sprint, but just as he was preparing to take the final corner another rider came on the outside and boxed him in, forcing the Swiss to hit the brakes, which resulted in the 22-year-old finishing second behind Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s fourth podium at the race.
“I was faster in the sprint, but I couldn’t do anything once he cut me off going into the final corner. In my opinion, today’s result is not fair. I am not happy with the result, because second place is the first loser of the stage. I am disappointed with the outcome, as I was confident today and felt strong. At the same time, I want to thank the team for their confidence, and especially Ballero, because he was of great help in the breakaway.”, said Mauro after the race.
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