Unstoppable Viviani in Grado
The 29-year-old took his 12th victory of the season with a perfectly-timed sprint on the penultimate stage of Adriatica Ionica.
The Quick-Step Floors win-fest continued at the Italian race, with Elia Viviani – one of the stand-out riders of this season – adding another notch to his belt and cementing his lead in the points classification one day before the inaugural edition of the five-stage event draws the curtain over what's already been a highly successful race for our team, who broke the 40-victory barrier earlier this week.
"Having scored another victory makes me very happy, and to return at the top of the most wins individual classification gives me great pride. The team was again brilliant, my form is good and I think we can be more than content with how the race has panned out so far for us", Elia said after the 41st UCI victory of Quick-Step Floors in 2018.
Saturday's stage was the longest of the race, a 229.2km trek from the San Vito di Cadore to Grado – former ancient port and fishing center, nowadays an important tourist destination – also known as L'Isola del Sole, where the peloton arrived after tackling a classified climb, several gravel dirt road sectors and passing through Aquileia, placed by Roman poet Ausonius among the world's largest cities in the fourth century, alongside the likes of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria or Mediolanum.
Animated by six men who got green light from the peloton to feature in the breakaway, the stage was controlled by several teams, including Quick-Step Floors, who made sure the gap didn't go north of six minutes, before upping the pace and reducing the deficit inside the final 50 kilometers. With 10 kilometers left, on the last gravel roads of the stage, Niki Terpstra attacked and opened a 12-second gap over the peloton, who shut down this move before bringing back to heel the remnants of the breakaway.
Quick-Step Floors played it flawlessly in the final, expertly bringing Elia Viviani to the fore, who after being launched by neo-pro Alvaro Hodeg, got the better of countryman Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and earned the his 12th victory since the season, one which can already go down as the best of his career, despite being only June.
"It was a very long stage, with a 20km-climb and around six kilometers of gravel, which spiced up things. Jhonatan was amazing, pulling the entire day until we hit the sterrate, where we tried to split the race, only for the others to react. Then, in the final, Alvaro opened his sprint with 200 meters to go and I jumped inside the last 150 meters, going all the way and getting this nice win, with Alvaro in third, for another great day at the office."
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