Giro d’Italia: Schachmann keeps white on punchy finish
The young German moved up a position in the general classification ahead of Mount Etna.
The first Grand Tour of the year resumed on Tuesday, when the charming and sunny Sicily welcomed the riders who departed from Catania, the second largest city on the island, and headed to Caltagirone, a small town founded by the Romans and an important pottery production center.
For Quick-Step Floors – who won two stages on the opening weekend of the race – it wasn't the best day at the Corsa Rosa, as Czech Champion Zdenek Stybar got caught behind a pile-up inside the last ten kilometers, while Maximilian Schachmann crashed on a corner with two kilometers to go, as the fast-charging peloton was splitting on the uphill finish to Caltagirone, which averaged 8.5% over the last 800 meters.
Riding his maiden Grand Tour, the 24-year-old German proved he is hard as nails and quickly mounted on the bike, fiercely chasing the main group and bridging across just as the road went up. As attacks ensued and the puncheurs took the front, Max admirably managed the to limit the losses and came only ten seconds behind stage victor Tim Wellens (Lotto-FixAll), keeping the white jersey he is wearing since day one of the race.
"I was in fifth wheel, but the peloton went full gas through a sharp corner and I touched someone in the public and went down. I checked if everything was ok and immediately jumped back on the bike. I was surprised that I lost just a handful of seconds, but I am satisfied that I saved the day and even extended my lead in the youth standings", said Max after the grinding uphill finish in Caltagirone, which saw him gain a place in the general classification, where he sits in sixth.
Elia Viviani was dropped after the last classified climb of the day, on the rolling terrain before the final descent, but was paced to the finish by trusted lead-out man Fabio Sabatini and concluded the stage which packed 3300 vertical meters well inside the time limit.
The Isola della Scala-born rider, winner in Tel Aviv and Eilat, remains at the top of the points classification with a hefty gap over his rivals ahead of stage 5, between Agrigento and Santa Ninfa, a 153km-long one which packs three classified ascents and another uphill finish.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images