Nizzolo pleased with his team and his sprint after Giro stage one
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nizzolo pleased with his team and his sprint after Giro stage one

by Kyle Moore at 8:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Young Italian avoids final crash and takes fourth on the stage

Giacomo NizzoloThough there is a 15-year age different between them, Radioshack-Leopard lead-out man Danilo Hondo and sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo were quickly on the same page in the finale of stage one of the Giro d’Italia, and the result was a fourth place finish for Nizzolo. The two managed to avoid the crash with two kilometres to go, and Hondo placed Nizzolo perfectly into the final bunch sprint, which was taken out by Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

The 39-year-old Hondo and 24-year-old Nizzolo are in their first season together at Radioshack-Leopard, after Hondo transferred in from Lampre-Merida, but the duo appeared to work very well together in their first Grand Tour stage.

The crash in the finale split the field near its front, meaning only a handful of sprinters could take part in the sprint, and allowing their lead-out men to clean up the rest of the top ten spots. This meant that Radioshack-Leopard took two top ten finishes on stage one, with Nizzolo in fourth and Hondo cruising over the line in ninth. Hondo also claims fourth place on GC after taking a minor placing in the only intermediate sprint point of the day.

In Hondo’s comments after the stage, it was clear that wisdom and experience played a major part in finding the right position in the finale.

“The last five kilometers in a Grand Tour are always difficult and it’s hard to find a good position,” Hondo explained on the team website. “Our team worked so well in the circuits, doing the right things to stay in position and conserve energy. I wish it had been a little faster at the end, but the three hard corners made it difficult and I knew for sure there would be a crash. I could feel it would happen. So I stayed on the inside of the corners and pulled the guys along.

“We waited as long as we could to move forward and help Giacomo. Giacomo was so close today but Cavendish was the fastest. We are happy with what we saw and we move forward now.”

Nizzolo said that he received everything he needed to put on his best sprint finish, and the end result was the fourth place, which had the young Italian pleased afterward.

“There was a crash and things split up. We were in the front with Danilo. At 500 metres he moved up with me in the wheel,” Nizzolo elaborated. “It was a strong effort by him. I started the sprint at 200 metres and tried to go but I just couldn’t get the victory. Cavendish was just too fast.

“But for sure it gives good morale to the team and confidence to me for a good start to the Giro. Danilo did a great job for me. We had good feelings all during the race, even before the sprint. Part of the team rode with Robert and the others rode for me. We feel good.”

On a day full of crashes, Radioshack-Leopard veteran Yaroslav Popovych was twice a victim. “I just lost a little skin in two crashes,” Popovych said. “My wheel slipped on the outside of a corner; it sort of felt like ice in the first crash. Then in the very last part I was there in a crash too at 2km before the end. It happened in front of me and I tried to avoid it, and it wasn’t so bad. I’m a little skinned up on both sides but it shouldn’t be a problem,” Popovych added, likely with his trademark smile.

Sunday’s stage two brings the Ischia team time trial. Radioshack-Leopard was eighth in the TTT last year, but bring a largely different, and likely better time trialing squad to the Giro this year.


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