Giro d’Italia: Schmid lights up Napoli stage
Mauro Schmid ventured in the breakaway that forged clear just a couple of kilometers into Saturday’s stage, a 153km trek around Napoli comprising five ascents of the Monte di Procida climb (1.8km, 6.8%), which back in 1977 hosted the prologue won by Freddy Maertens.
For about 50 kilometers, the gap between the 15-man group featuring Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Swiss had a rather narrow gap, but as soon as they entered the circuit, they found the proper terrain to expand that advantage north of four minutes, at which point it became clear the day would belong to them. Mauro was one of the most active in the group, which began splitting on the small but nagging climbs crammed in the final 70 kilometers.
A stage winner at Il Giro last year, Schmid tried to get away 40 kilometers from the finish, and despite the others reacting to this move, he continued to insist, bursting away from the group and taking just a handful of riders with him. Things calmed down briefly, before others began showing their intentions and eventually zipping away on one of the numerous climbs surrounding Napoli.
Mauro tried to organise the chase and left everything as he single-handedly reduced the 40-second gap to the leading quartet to just 15 seconds, but a lack of collaboration helped the four up the road edge out their margin again and fight for victory, which went to Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), after a sprint in the closing 200 meters. Our riders finished just 15 seconds down, in sixth place, while the peloton arrived more than three minutes in arrears, and with it, also Mauri Vansevenant, who is sixth overall going into Sunday’s tough Blockhaus stage.
“I’m disappointed, because when you are in a break which goes all the way to the finish, you hope to win. I knew it was a day where a move could make it, but I was also aware it would be difficult because the group was quite large. I gave the best I could, and now I hope to recover, get over Sunday’s tough stage, and then enjoy the rest day. After that, there will be some more opportunities for me, hopefully”, an upbeat Mauro said at the finish in Napoli.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images