When Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF) got into the breakaway just five kilometres into Stage 10, one of the flattest of the Giro d’Italia, it was an opportunity to get some television time for the team. He could hardly have imagined that it would go the whole way, let alone that he would pull off the biggest victory of his career.
Boem played it perfectly, allowing Cannondale-Garmin’s Alan Marangoni to attack before catching him in the final straight to seal the victory.
“Unbelievable. I can’t find the words to describe this moment,” he said in a team statement following the stage.
“I went in the break to show our team and sponsors. Then with 20km to go we still had more than two minutes and we began to believe it. Marangoni attacked 1km to go but I was smart to keep him 200 meters ahead. When we came on the final straight I knew to be the fastest and it happened. It’s a huge win both for me and the whole team which I wish it’s only the first.”
The peloton were cautious throughout the stage, keeping the break at a manageable four-minute gap. The advantage started to come down after the one and only climb of the day but with only Lotto-Soudal putting serious numbers on the front it wasn’t quick enough. The break lost Oscar Gatto (Androni Giocattoli) to a puncture but they held strong and with 10 kilometres remaining they could sense a victory could be on the cards.
“Nobody would have bet one cent on this break. We were sure that the peloton would close the gap with 10-15 kilometres to go. But, from that moment, we raced full gas,” said Boem. “I have to thank my teammates, the whole staff, Mirko (Rossato), Bruno (Reverberi), Roberto (Reverberi), Luca Bardiani and all the sponsors who are supporting us and allowing us to be a part of this race, the Giro d’Italia, one of the most beautiful races in the world. This victory is also for them.”
Directeur sportif Rossato said of his rider, “Nicola was perfect, showing to be a strong rider with a great talent. On the bike he’s smart and can see the race in a really good way. Me and (team manager) Roberto Reverberi we just said to be calm and focus on the finale. In the last kilometre he was perfect, simply the strongest.”