Thursday, October 22nd - It was a brilliant performance for Team Bahrain McLaren in three consecutive days at Giro d’Italia, as our riders stood out also on the queen stage (Pinzolo-Laghi di Carcano, 207km), with Pello Bilbao taking third place. Good news from La Vuelta a Espana too, where Wout Poels was fourth on the mountaintop finish of stage 3 (Lodosa > La Laguna Negra 166.1km).
After the big selection was made in the epic Stelvio climb – Cima Coppi of this year’s edition - Pello Bilbao found his tempo and tried to make the best of the day. Our Basque leader unleashed himself impressively. Trying to gain as much advantage as possible, he attacked on the way to Laghi di Cancano with great determination. In the end, he took a nice third place, 46″ behind Jai Hindley and Tao Geoghegan Hart. Stage 18 caused a shake-up in the overall standing, with Pello Bilbao back in the GC battle, as he moved up to the fourth place, 1’19” behind the new pink jersey Wilco Kelderman.
“The race was quite extreme, but perhaps it’s the best rhythm for me. I am not that fresh, but I can stand a good pace.” Bilbao commented “I have to say a big thank you to Domen Novak who save my race together with all the team. Thanks to their believing me in the third week. It’s unbelievable to continue with this level after Tour de France.”
“We just have 3 days more and it’s done. I am tired but still with the best motivation and a bit of energy. I have to concentrate until the end and make the best result as possible for GC.”
In Spain, our squad started stage 3 La Vuelta without Matej Mohorič, forced to abandon after yesterday’s crash. Although this significant lack, the team managed to be competitive on the challenging course, featuring the first uphill finish of this edition, with our leader Wout Poels taking a good 4th place, just 4 seconds behind his rivals Martin, Roglic and Carapaz, who accelerated inside the last 200m.
“I have finished stage well so I am happy with that. It was a hard stage due to the wind and you had to be careful throughout the whole day. In the last climb, I was just following until the last 2 km when race a little bit exploded. Then I paced myself and then at the end I did a sprint. I was getting closer in the sprint and I am happy with that. That’s good for the confidence after the first two days where I got dropped in final. It’s not far from the top-10 now, so there is some good perspective.”
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainMcLaren)
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