Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida) put in a solid but unspectacular performance on the first mountaintop finish of this year’s Giro d’Italia, finishing 19th and in a group containing pre-race favourites Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Mikel Landa (Team Sky). The stage was won by Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), while race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) extended his advantage over his rivals with a late attack on the final climb.
The result kept Ulissi, who impressively won stage 4 to Praia a Mare, inside the top-10, in seventh overall, and 41 seconds behind Dumoulin but tied on time with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and ahead of Nibali, Rafa Majka (Tinkoff) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale).
“The pace on the final climb was very high and the climbers fought fiercely in the final four kilometers,” Ulissi said post-stage.
“These are conditions which are not suitable for my characteristics, I would have prefer a more regular approach to the climb which would have allowed me to try an attack in the final kilometer.”
On the approach to the climb Ulissi had ordered his Lampre teammates to set the pace at the front of the peloton in a bid to weaken the opposition. However, according to the rider, few teams were will to collaborate with Lampre’s efforts.
“My legs during the stage were not perfect, I asked my teammates to led the bunch and see if someone from the other teams would have supported us, but no one gave us any help, so we decided to stop leading the peloton.”
Despite not being able to follow Dumoulin and a select group of riders on the final climb, Ulissi was content with the outcome.
“Considering all these factors, I feel my performance is fairly good," he said.
Ulissi will look to strengthen his position in the overall standings during Sunday’s stage 9 individual time trial.