Trek-Segafredo finished the 2019 Giro d'Italia in Verona on Sunday having taken the blue mountains jersey through Giulio Ciccone and fifth place overall thanks to Bauke Mollema, calling the race "one of its best Grand Tours in the team's history".
The US WorldTour team – which secured Richie Porte's signature for the 2019 season, with the Australian now set to lead the team at the upcoming Tour de France – is also rumoured to be taking on Giro runner-up Vincenzo Nibali from Bahrain-Merida for next year, which could mean that the best is yet to come from the squad for Grand Tours.
But, for now, Trek-Segafredo are content to bask in the post-Giro afterglow of a top-five finish, a win in one of the major jersey competitions and Ciccone's stage win in Ponte di Legno.
"We achieved all our goals, with a stage win, the top five, and, on top of that, we had the mountains jersey for the whole Giro," pointed out sports director Kim Andersen on the team's website.
Ciccone cleverly took the blue jersey on the opening time trial stage in Bologna, where whichever rider was fastest from the bottom to the top of the final climb up to the finish was to be named the 2019 Giro's first 'king of the mountains'. The 24-year-old Italian measured his effort through the first part of the stage in order to give it everything on the climb.
Although that meant that he only finished 64th on the stage, it was enough to take what would be his first blue jersey – and far from his last, it turned out, as Ciccone then wore it for the rest of the Giro, save for a single stage, having temporarily handed it to teammate Gianluca Brambilla following stage 12 before re-taking it the next day and making it his with the stage win on stage 16 from Lovere to Ponte di Legno.
"Today was very emotional," Ciccone said of finishing the final time trial in Verona's amphitheatre in the blue jersey on Sunday.
"When I came into the arena, it was incredible, and very emotional for me. I'm very happy with this Giro, as it was very, very important for me to finally make this big jump in my progress. I'm also very happy for the team, as we were a strong group, and I think we did a super Giro, with Bauke finishing in the top five, which was the top goal for the team," he said.
Mollema said he was thrilled to have achieved the goal of finishing in the top five, both on a personal level and in terms of what it means for the team, which ahead of the Giro had only taken three wins this season.
"It's only the second time that I've finished in the top five at a Grand Tour," Mollema said, having taken fourth at the Vuelta a Espana in 2011 – but also sixth at the 2013 Tour de France, and seventh at the 2015 Tour and seventh again at the 2017 Giro.
"It was a great Giro for the team, winning a stage, winning the mountains jersey, and then taking the top 5 in the GC, so it couldn't be better," he said.
The 32-year-old Dutchman moved into the top six for the first time after stage 12 to Pinerolo, and then into fourth overall – albeit for a day – after a strong ride to Ceresole Reale the next day.
He then faltered a little on stage 14 to Courmayeur – where stage winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar) truly set himself up for his eventual overall Giro victory – with Mollema losing well over two minutes to all the other favourites, but then moved up to fifth overall following stage 16 to Ponte di Legno, and managed to protect his position from there all the way to the finish on Sunday.
"I'm happy with my level," he continued. "We had a great atmosphere in the team from day one until the end, and that really helped.
"I think when the atmosphere is good in the team, you see that everyone is even more motivated to work together and that leads to great results," said Mollema, who will now recover before building up again for the Tour de France, where he'll ride in the service of Porte.
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