One could consider calling the first day of racing in Settimana Ciclistica Italiana the queen stage. With the wind, elevation and aggressive racing, it didn’t disappoint.
For many of ISN’s riders, Settimana meant a return to racing after a period without. Rudy Barbier showed he was eager, enjoyed the wind and found himself in the first echelon.
He set his teammates free from pulling in the peloton for GC-contender Ben Hermans, who had an easy start to the stage as he could count on the full support of his teammates.
As the break got reeled in, it was up the the Belgian climber. Together with his strong fellow countryman Sep Vanmarcke, he made it over the climb and sprinted for glory.
Hermans launched his sprint with 300 meters to go: “I decided to go early to take advantage of the tailwind. The winner of the stage passed me, and then I saw Sep chasing.”
Vanmarcke: “In the final, we worked well together. I came from far, as the second group only merged in the last hundred meters. I passed a bunch of riders, but I was just too late.”
In the end, Vanmarcke finished sixth, Hermans eighth, in the front group of fifteen riders.
Tomorrow, there is no shake up of the general classification expected. It’s more a day for ISN’s sprinter, Rudy Barbier.