Andrea Bagioli bounces back to take first podium of the year
Patched up following his opening stage crash but with his morale high after a good night’s sleep, Andrea Bagioli was motivated to be among the protagonists on the tough finish of Abu Rakah, which was tailored to his punchy skills. Protected by an excellent Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team, who contributed to the steady pace that brought back the escapees inside the last 20 kilometers, Andrea made his move with the flamme rouge in sight.
The final climb of the day was an unclassified one, but the 7.7% average gradient over just 1600 meters seriously tested the riders. Unfazed by the tough ramps, our Italian danced away from his opponents and linked up with Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), who had previously put some daylight between him and the bunch. Bagioli produced a huge and impressive effort that ensured the duo a comfortable buffer with 500 meters left, but was unable to close the gap when the Colombian jumped off his wheel with just 300 meters to go.
Second on the stage, Andrea took a lot of heart from Wednesday’s result: “At the end of the day I am satisfied, because I wasn’t sure I would be in the front after Tuesday’s crash. But I felt good during the stage and the feeling continued once we hit the climb. I attacked with one kilometer remaining and tried to do by best, but one rider was faster in the sprint. Nevertheless, this podium – my first of the season – gives me a lot of confidence for the next stages.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel