Team NetApp continues to surprise at the Giro d'Italia, as Bartosz Huzarski finished second on Tuesday's climb up to Assisi. The Polish rider is now 16th overall, only 1:48 down, in the team's maiden Grand Tour.
"To be honest, I had a bit of respect for the last climb. I was among the first 30 riders going into it, and then I fought my way up one rider at a time,” Huzarski said on the team's website.
“Then I gave it all I had during the last 800 meters. I never expected to get such a result here. It's simply unbelievable!"
DS Enrico Poitschke was beside himself. "Bartosz had an outstanding race today. We're all thrilled. The team did a great job setting him up, and he crowned that performance with a spot on the podium. We showed that we're also good for a big surprise in the second week of the Giro!"
Huzarski 31, was not the only NetApp rider to shine on the stage. Matthias Brändle was in the day's break group, which was caught with only six kilometres to go.
"We rode on two tracks today. We wanted to support Bartosz in the final part of the race, but we also wanted to be part of a group in the event that it would come through,” Poitschke said. “That tactic worked out perfectly.”
Huzarski was on the NetApp squad which broke through at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali. The team won the team time trial and he took over the leader's jersey from teammate Cesare Benedetti, before handing it over to teammate Jan Barta, who won the closing time trial to claim the overall title. Huzarski finished second overall.
A number of eyebrows were raised when the German Professional Continental team was awarded the wildcard invitation to the Giro, but the team has so far done its share to justify the invitation. It has brought in five top ten placings on stages and been in the long break groups in four stages.