Domenico Pozzovivo stayed hunched over his handlebars for several minutes after the stage 3 finish in Roncone at the Giro del Trentino, fighting the pain of the 12% climb to the finish and the pain of finishing a close second to Cadel Evans (BMC).
The tiny AG2R-La Mondiale climber has not won a race since taking a stage at the Tour of Slovenia in 2012. That year he won the Giro del Trentino and a mountain stage at the Giro d'Italia but has only secured a series of placings since joining AG2R-La Mondiale.
"I thought I could drop him but he dropped me," Pozzovivo told Cyclingnews before getting a hug of consolation from his parents.
Pozzovivo made several accelerations in the final to kilometres which kicked up at 10% and then 12%, but Evans spun his gear while riding out of the saddle and was more than a match for the Italian.
"This short steep finish suited me but he was very strong and there was nothing I could do. Cadel was impressive today."
"I had some stomach problems overnight and so I wasn't great today, so I suppose have to be happy with second. But I really wanted a win."
Pozzovivo promised to try and do something on the longer, harder climb to the finish of stage four on Monte Bondone. The 19km climb has an average gradient of 8% with a final kick up to the finish at 10%.
"Tomorrow is another climb and an other day. Lets hope I feel better," he said.
He will lead the AG2R-La Mondiale team at the forthcoming Giro d'Italia.
"Hopefully I can be even better for the Giro d'Italia. There's time and racing here in the mountains will help me be ready for the Giro," he concluded.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.