Cattaneo lights up Coppi e Bartali queen stage

Cattaneo lights up Coppi e Bartali queen stage

More than 3000 meters of elevation gain, a highly selective route that gave little respite and no fewer than twelve climbs crammed into the 147km leg held in San Marino – there were plenty of ingredients to reshuffle the general classification, and the stage didn’t disappoint.

Mattia Cattaneo was the first rider to attack, and the 32-year-old opened a good gap on the peloton, from where other riders soon jumped, joining the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Italian on Serra San Marco, the hardest ascent of the day. Together, they carved out a six-minute advantage, which prompted a reaction from the bunch, who increased the tempo and began pulling back time on the many climbs of the stage.

With 50 kilometers to go, Cattaneo put in a speculative attack that ensured him a good gap of almost 50 seconds over his breakaway companions, unable to react. Things looked good for the man from Bergamo, who along the way picked up important points in the KOM competition, but the heavy climbing took its toll on him, and after being caught by one rider 25 kilometers from the finish, he was then dropped and reabsorbed by the bunch. A small group emerged by the time they reached the base of the last climb, and Ben Tulett rode clear to take the stage victory.

Mattia rolled over the line some minutes later, content with the effort he put in during the stage: “I had nothing to lose at the start of the day, so I thought why not go in the breakaway. I felt good there and sensing some lull at one point, I decided to attack. It didn’t work out, but I have no regrets. There are two more stages left here and we are keen on trying something until the end. I am glad to be back with the team and get back in shape with every race day I complete.”

 

Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images

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