The points classification winner at the last two editions of the Giro d'Italia, Italian national champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) came into the 100th edition of the race with just six race days in his legs. On stage 1 of the race, he sprinted to fourth place and proved his form and condition is coming back on stage three with a third place.
A knee injury ravaged Nizzolo's start to 2017 with the Tour of Croatia his only race before the Giro. As Quick-Step Floors took it upon themselves to 'smash' the peloton in the crosswinds late in stage 3, Nizzolo was equal to the test as he made the front selection to contest the victory. While Colombian Fernando Gaviria was the quickest in the finale, Nizzolo explained the result and performance was a confidence boost considering his lack of race days.
"I was in the front group with Quick-Step, and of course they did great teamwork," said Nizzolo of the Belgian squad who were rewarded with the stage win and maglia rosa. "They did their best to win, and I tried to do the best I could do against them. Of course, with the condition I have, I paid for the full gas effort for the last 10 kilometers."
"Tactically, I think I was perfect, and the legs were just missing that little bit again so I couldn't ask more today. I am not frustrated. As I said, this was probably the best result I could have. I work every day to do my best and today the best was the third place."
Importantly for Trek-Segafredo, GC leader Bauke Mollema was also alert as Quick-Step Floors did their damage and arrived in Cagliari on the same time his overall rivals. The Dutchman, although accustomed to riding in the wind, explained his teammates were crucial in keeping him calm and collected on what could have been a disastrous finale.
"It was stressful with 50kms to go already," said Mollema. "Everyone knew that with 13kms to go it turned left and it was full crosswind and everyone wanted to be in front. We were where we needed to be, especially Jasper and Mads (Pedersen) who did a really good job, and Laurent (Didier) and Eugenio (Alafaci) too, to bring me in good position to this point. Then after one-two kilometers Quick-Step suddenly attacked and Giacomo reacted really well and it was perfect for us. He did a good sprint, and behind we were in the front so I was never in any big problems."
Like the remaining other 194 riders in the Giro peloton, Mollema will enjoy a rest day in Sicily before the challenging stage 4 finish at Mount Etna which will be the fist climbing test of the 2017 Giro for the GC contenders.
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