Giro d’Italia climbs Mount Etna
After five great days in the white jersey, Max Schachmann conceded the white jersey, but continues to be the highest-ranked Quick-Step Floors rider in the overall standings.
Mount Etna was the backdrop for the first GC battle at the 101st Giro d'Italia, the 15km-long brutal climb being tackled from a different side than last year, when Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels took the iconic maglia rosa at the top. The highest terrestrial active volcano of the Eurasian Plate, Etna made its debut at the Corsa Rosa in 1967 and this year featured for the fifth time in history on the route.
The race got off to a crazy start, as a plethora of riders tried to make it into the breakaway, which was formed only after 40 kilometers, when 27 men put three minutes between them and the bunch. Aware that many of the riders in that move posed a threat to the general classification, several teams joined hands and began a chase which eventually brought back to heel all bar one rider, Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), who rode away from the leaders' group inside the last five kilometers and took the win.
Maximilian Schachmann rode a brave race and put in a valiant effort as the pace went up in the main group, from where he was only four kilometers from the summit. The 24-year-old German, one of the two Grand Tour debutants of Quick-Step Floors at the Giro d'Italia, crossed the line less than two minutes adrift and despite having lost the white jersey, he remained upbeat, knowing the race will provide other opportunities for both him and the team.
"It was a hard day, but I felt good until we hit the last steep part of the climb, at which point my legs exploded. I had cramps and it wasn't easy, but I paced myself all the way to the finish. So far, I've been very happy with my race and the feelings in the legs. There are many stages left until we reach Rome and I will take it day by day", said Schachmann, 19th in the rankings following the race's first mountain stage.
Elia Viviani, who moved into the famed cyclamen jersey following his emphatic victory in Tel Aviv, last weekend, will lead the points classification for the fifth consecutive day, as the peloton will travel from Pizzo to Praia a Mare (159 kilometers), the renowned sea resort on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images