Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) could hardly have planned it better himself. After four years of trying, Modolo secured his first Grand Tour stage win at the Giro d’Italia in his home region of Veneto. Modolo is from an hour up the road in Conegliano and he believes that his victory in Jesolo was meant to be.
“This is the best victory in my career,” said an elated Modolo. “I’ve been coming here for four years and for some reason it hasn’t quite gone right for me, and so far in this race there was one sprint that I didn’t quite make it and the breakaway got away to Forlì. In the end I think that it was destiny that I should win my home stage here at Jeselo.”
Lampre-Merida were one of the few teams to have numbers in the final three kilometres into Jesolo, after a late crash held up most of the peloton. Modolo had two riders remaining with him, keeping the Italian close to the front and ensuring a clear road ahead when the released him in the final metres. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) pushed Modolo hard but the 27-year-old held firm to take the biggest win of his career.
“Paolini was next to me in the finish and he wanted to pull and with Paolini in the middle it worked perfectly for us,” said Modolo. “Max Richeze did the roundabouts perfectly the way we wanted to, and then he pulled again 600 metres from the line. He did the work of two men. I think that 60 per cent of this win goes to Max and the rest goes to Ferrari. I have to thank them for their work.”
This season has not been a fruitful one for Modolo and the Giro d’Italia victory is only his second of the season, after taking a stage of the Tour of Turkey just a week before the Giro began in San Remo. It is Modolo’s fifth time at the Giro d’Italia and it’s almost surprising that it has taken this long for him to notch up his home Grand Tour. He’s had a couple of top three finishes, with a second place on the final stage of the 2013 race the closest he’d come previously.
That year he was Italy’s best performer, with nine victories in total – two more than Vincenzo Nibali – but Modolo is still modest about his own abilities. “I don’t consider myself a great champion or to have exceptional natural class. In my fourth year I got that fourth in Milan-San Remo (2010) and I still have no idea how I did it. The result is that you expect a great deal more of me,” he explained.
“I want to improve incrementally each year. Last year I got my first ProTour wins in (the Tour de) Suisse and China (Tour of Beijing). This year I tried really hard for Milan-San Remo but for some reason I couldn’t really express myself. I had a great winter and I couldn’t really understand why. Here at the Giro is my opportunity.”
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