BMC Racing’s Cadel Evans, aboard his fi’zi:k saddle, stormed to the Giro del Trentino title on Friday, his first overall stage race victory since the Criterium International in 2012. The victory boosts Evans’ Giro d’Italia chances, with the race start being in Belfast on Friday 9 May.
Evans went into the final stage with a 45-second lead over Domenico Pozzovivo of Ag2r La Mondiale (also a fi’zi:k rider) after winning Thursday’s 184.4km stage from Mori to Roncone. The 37-year-old reprised memories of his 2011 Tour de France triumph as he danced away from the competition 1km from the finish.
That left the Australian with the lead and full of confidence come the 174km final stage from Val Daone to Monte Bondone but, with three categorized climbs, there was still work to be done. A three-man breakaway, including Movistar’s Alex Dowsett, was reeled in by the day’s first major climb, the 1,682m Campo Carlo Magno.
A 12-man group then formed upfront, pushing on until they reached the final ascent of the race, the 17.5km climb to Bondone. With an average 8% gradient, kissing 13% in places, it was a brutal finale to the four-stage race.
Come the final 10km, a smaller group assembled, featuring Evans, Spain’s Mikel Landa (Astana), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky and fi’zi:k user), Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) and Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli).
Pellizotti cranked up the cadence – as did Landa and Meintjes. All three pushed for the win but Landa rose from the crowd for a memorable solo victory. Evans finished fifth – enough to claim the overall crown, 50 seconds ahead of Pozzovivo and 1:01min clear of Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida).