Oliviero Troia isn't wasting anytime finding his spot in the pro peleton. The 22-year-old Italian, who signed his first pro contract with UAE Abu Dhabi this year, came close to taking his first win just six days into the season Saturday when he came second to Max Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) during stage 6 at the Vuelta a San Juan.
Troia joined Richeze and German Nicolas Tivani (Unieuro Trevigiani-Hemus 1896) in a late breakaway of the heat-shortened 168.1km stage as the trio attacked from a larger escape group and then built an advantage of six minutes.
In the finale, Troia knew that Richeze, who won a stage of the Tour de Suisse in 2016, was the fastest rider, and so he tried to anticipate him. However, the Argentinian did not allow Troia to go clear and he won the sprint. Troia fought for second place ahead of Tivani.
"A day in the front of the race and the opportunity to fight for a victory: I could not ask for something better in my first competition as pro," Troia said. "The heat made the race even tougher. My shape was good and I could be competitive until the final kilometers.
"I was aware that Richeze was faster, I tried to anticipate him, but he was too fast," Troia said. "Despite I could not win and realize a dream, I'm pretty satisfied for my first experience as pro rider. The team is impressive, I'm racing with talented champions as Rui Costa, I'm trying to lear as much as possible from everybody."