With no king of the mountains points on offer in the final Tirreno-Adriatico stage, a 10.1km time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, Cesare Benedetti simply needs to finish to seal his and Bora-Argon 18's first WorldTour classification victory. The German team initially wasn't going to extend the contract of the 28-year-old beyond 2015 but his 14th place in Il Lombardia changed the mind of team manager Ralph Denk, and the Italian has repaid his faith in his second stage race of 2016.
Benedetti picked up his first Tirreno-Adriatico KOM points on stage 2 via a breakaway, repeating the trick on stage 4 and taking maximum points on the Valico della Somma climb to take over the lead in the classification.
"It is great that after a lot of kilometres in [the] breakaway, all efforts pay off this time. This is one of my biggest successes in my career and even better here in Italy," said Benedetti who has been with the team since 2010."
With stage 5 of the race cancelled due to snow, Benedetti acknowledged that luck was on his side in claiming the KOM jersey but 'fought' hard regardless.
"The 5th stage would have been a big fight, but it had to be cancelled," he said. "That's cycling, you never know what's up next, that's why it is always worth to fight every day. For the organiser this decision was for sure a hard one and I have great respect for that, because I know how hard it is to organise big cycling races these days.
"At the end the winner is always the one with the most points, and this time I am the one. I had to fight hard for this victory."
In 2013, Benedetti wore led the KOM classification at Tirreno-Adriatico but lost the jersey to finish second, while last year he led the Bora-Argon 18 squad over the line in the Giro del Trentino team time trial to pull on the first leader's jersey of the race.
Sports director Enrico Poitschke praised Benedetti for his efforts across the week for infiltrating the breakaways, for which he was ultimately rewarded with the jersey.
"I really appreciate that Cesare takes a leaders' jersey in the end this time," said Poitschke. "He did fight a lot in the last years, was in a lot of breakaways, also had a jersey for one or two days, but in the end he did not succeed. Now everything did pay off this time and I am proud of him because of his motivation and attitude all the times."
With the Criterium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France on Bora-Argon 18 race calendar, along with several one-day WorldTour races, the team will have further opportunities for success at the highest level of the sport, but for now the team is celebrating its success as Poitschke added.
"For the team this is a big moment also. To win something at a WorldTour race, a stage or a jersey, is always something special. And as a ProContinental team it is even sweeter."