As the riders headed home with sore heads and sore legs after celebrating in Milan, they were satisfied with their performance and savouring the emotions of the 100th edition of the Corsa Rosa.
The team's highlight of the Giro d'Italia was, without a doubt, Pierre Rolland's stage victory in Canazei after going on the attack day after day in the mountains. Rolland timed his final solo attack on stage 17 to perfection and could count on teammate Michael Woods to block and dissuade the chase behind. The Frenchman was happy to swap any satisfaction of a good overall result for the heady emotions of a stage victory.
Kristijan Koren, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Alex Howes and Davide Villella all tried their luck in breaks or with late attacks, while Joe Dombrowski fought back from an injury-hit spring and went on the attack with Rolland on stage.
Formolo finished tenth overall and third in the best young rider competition behind Bob Jungels and Adam Yates as he targeted the overall classification of his home Grand Tour for the first time. He is out of contract this season, with Team Sky and Astana apparently interested in the young Italian but he seems happy at Cannondale-Drapac, knowing he has the freedom to aim high. He plans to continue to target the overall classification in 2018.
"As I said at the starting Sardinia, I wanted to test myself and go for the overall. I finished in the top ten as I hoped and so I have to be satisfied. I think the GC speaks for itself, I'm behind some big, big names of the sport but I'm ahead of other big names," Formolo told Cyclingnews with pride, while aware of where he lost precious seconds.
"I was just a pity I suffered on the last day in the mountains on Saturday and lost contact with the best guys. I've also got to work on my time trialling. Despite that my consistent riding in the front group shows what I can do. I've just got to keep working and stay optimistic. I'm only 25. Everybody says I can do well in Grand Tours and so I'll keep trying."
Woods shakes of his Rookie tag after a successful Grand Tour debut
Michael Woods made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia. He suffered from allergies in the final week but played a vital role in Rolland's victory. He seemed to revel in the challenge of shaking off his 'Rookie' label, using the suffering to further fast-track his career and confirmation as a WorldTour rider.
"It was an amazing three weeks, it's been incredibly cool to ride the 100th Giro. There's been some tough lows and some incredible highs. It's hard not to make a cliché statement but everything about it has been epic," Woods told Cyclingnews.
"It's all bigger than I expected and the emotions I experienced were greater than I expected. Being part of Pierre Rolland's win was special. I haven't been that emotional about another guys win before."
"My personal high point was showing that I belong here at this level. Winning the bunch kick for fifth on stage six was a high point but there a couple of nights where I tossed and turned in bed thinking about how things would have been so different if we'd caught the break. I think I could have won that stage."
"Finishing the Giro leaves me as a much stronger, a much better rider all around. It's improved my bike handling, my positioning. Just the load I took on in these three weeks is huge. You can't replicate that in training."
Woods, Dombrowski and a few other from the Giro d'Italia roster are expected to return to racing for the Tour de Suisse in the hope of using their hard-earned form to target success.
"I'm already the most raced guys in the team with close to sixty race days in my legs but that's an accomplishment too," Woods pointed out.
"I hope my form is great for the Tour de Suisse after this great load. Either I'll be great or I'll flounder. We'll see…."
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