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Intermarché-Wanty Gobert praise Van der Hoorn for seizing rare chance at Giro d'Italia

Taco Van der Hoorn wins stage 3 at the 2021 Giro d'Italia
Taco Van der Hoorn wins stage 3 at the 2021 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)

Giro d’Italia stage 3 winner Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) has been praised in glowing terms by his team management for making the most of a rare opportunity to take a victory in one of professional cycling’s most prestigious scenarios.

Van der Hoorn scored a hugely impressive and unexpected solo win on Tuesday in the Giro d'Italia after breaking away early on the stage and holding on by four seconds for the victory ahead of the main pack.

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matérieux sports director Valerio Piva later told Italian TV station RAI that the team had planned specifically pre-stage with Van der Hoorn that the Dutchman should try to get in the break of the day, given his qualities as a racer and the straightforward terrain on the first two-thirds of the 190km stage.

“He’s a good strong rider on the flat and he was in the best form possible,” Piva said. “We brought him especially to the Giro d’Italia to take advantage of these kinds of scenarios.

“These are the opportunities we have to take, because we’re not the best team here and we’re not here to compete for the sprints and the climbs. We have to get into the moves on the stages right from the word go and that was the key idea for today.”

While Ineos Grenadiers did not work hard behind the break, despite having the leader’s jersey with Filippo Ganna, and instead left Bora-hansgrohe to do the lion’s share of keeping the break under control in the hope that Peter Sagan could go for the sprint, Piva said, the eight ahead in Van der Hoorn’s move worked well and “everybody collaborated. It was a good group."

But Piva argued that the real difference between winning and losing came down to Van der Hoorn’s own individual qualities as a racer, after he broke away alone with nine kilometres to go and stayed clear to the line.

“We knew that if there was the slightest chance of winning, he’d grab it,” Piva concluded. “We’re very proud of him.”

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.