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Giro d'Italia rider of the day: Oldani takes 'magical' first pro win

Foto Marco Alpozzi / LaPresse
19 Maggio 2022 Parma
sport ciclismo
Giro d'Italia 2022 - edizione 105
Tappa 12 Parma - Genova
Nella foto:
Photo Marco Alpozzi / LaPresse
May 19, 2022 Parma
sport Cycling
Giro d'Italia 2022 - 105th edition
Stage 12 Parma - Genova
In the pic:
Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) is overcome with joy for winning stage 12 (Image credit: Marco Alpozzi - Pool/Getty Images)

For the second day in a row, there was a rider from Alpecin-Fenix other than Mathieu van der Poel gaining attention at the Giro d'Italia and, after Dries De Bondt's solo attack on stage 11 was brought to heel in the final kilometres, his teammate Stefano Oldani won stage 12 in Genova from the day's breakaway.

The 24-year-old Oldani most certainly flew under the radar in the 22-man escape, which also included Van der Poel and other better-known riders like Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën) - winner of a stage in the 2021 Giro d'Italia.

But when the stage reached its critical point with two category 3 climbs in the final 55km, it was Oldani who made the move by following an attack from his friend Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux) along with Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma).

They worked together to hold off a furtive chase from Kelderman, Mollema, Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) and Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco), and coming into the final kilometres they knew the stage would go to one of the trio at the front.

Leemreize attempted to get the jump on Oldani and Rota, and Oldani shut it down. In the rise to the finish line, Leemreize opened up the sprint and Oldani latched onto his wheel, then swept past and had just enough left in the tank to hold off Rota.

After the finish line celebration, Oldani crumpled to the ground and dissolved into tears when it finally sunk in that he had won his first professional race in the biggest race in his home country.

"I couldn't stop crying at the finish line because I worked so hard to get this victory. It's magical to have done it," Oldani said.

"I knew Rota, he's my friend, I knew that he was also fast so I had to watch out. For sure the other guy [Leemreize] it was obvious he tried to anticipate. It was not so easy to manage but in the end, I did it."

According to Oldani's Whoop data, the rest day set him up for today's performance, and since recovering he has been able to conserve energy and make the key breakaway.

Analysis

When Alpecin-Fenix became a ProTeam in 2019 as Corendon-Circus, it was all about Van der Poel. In 2020, we saw Tim Merlier step up with his first WorldTour win in Tirreno-Adriatico. Then last year, it was Jasper Philipsen, who arrived from UAE Team Emirates, who snatched a stage win in the Vuelta a España as the team's second-best rider, with Merlier a close third.

The team has gained more depth this season and have shown they are more than ready for the WorldTour, with Xandro Meurisse, Jakub Mareczko and Gianni Vermeersch getting in the mix more and more.

Van der Poel remains a critical foil for his teammates, and on no stage was this more on display in the Giro d'Italia than on stage 12.

Oldani said as much when asked about how Van der Poel's presence in the breakaway helped.

"For sure he's crucial. We knew already that if we were present [with] more than one in the break a lot of guys would be watching Mathieu and it was a good chance for the other guys. Today we managed it really well, we were the only team that had three. We did it."

They did it indeed. There are more than a few WorldTour teams that have been less present at the head of the race in this Giro d'Italia than Alpecin-Fenix. With the opening stage win, three days in the maglia rosa and one in the maglia ciclamino for Van der Poel and now a stage win for Oldani, their Giro has already been a success.

Oldani’s Whoop “sleep performance” - the bars represent the exact hours of sleep he got, relative to his sleep performance. Anything over 70% is excellent during a stage race.

Oldani’s Whoop “sleep performance” - the bars represent the exact hours of sleep he got, relative to his sleep performance. Anything over 70% is excellent during a stage race. (Image credit: Whoop)

Our previous riders of the day

  • Stage 1: Mathieu van der Poel
  • Stage 2: Simon Yates
  • Stage 3: Mark Cavendish
  • Stage 4: Juan Pedro López
  • Stage 5: Arnaud Démare
  • Stage 6: Diego Rosa
  • Stage 7: Tom Dumoulin
  • Stage 8: Mathieu van der Poel
  • Stage 9: Domenico Pozzovivo
  • Stage 10: Biniam Girmay
  • Stage 11: Dries De Bondt

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.