The Derek Gee show continues in this year’s Giro d’Italia. On Saturday’s stage 14, the young Canadian came ever so close to taking the win but had to settle for second place yet again.
“This is the closest one yet. I did everything I could today. I’m sure when I look back, I will be happy but for now, this one really really hurts”, Gee said after losing out on the victory with the length of half a wheel.
The day started out in sunshine in Switzerland and despite his hard effort yesterday, taking fourth place in the high mountains, Gee was eager to get up the road once again. As said as done.
When a big break formed at the front, Israel – Premier Tech was represented with no less than three riders in the form of Gee, Simon Clarke and Stevie Williams. The front group quickly got a big gap on the peloton, which seemed happy to the let breakaway fight for the win.
“We knew it was going to be a day for the break. I had a big day yesterday, but the legs were good again today so I gave it another crack with Stevie and Simon”, Gee explained.
As the riders took on the ascent to the Simplonpass, the rain made another unwelcome return and accompanied the riders for the rest of the day. The front group with Gee, Clarke and Williams worked well together until the final 50 km, when attacks started to occur.
A small group got away and gained nearly a minute on the chasers but the IPT riders never gave up. Williams worked hard to minimize the distance between the two groups and when Gee attacked and set his sight on the leading trio, the gap started to crumble.
“We ended up on the backfoot but Stevie came to the rescue and we managed to close the gap enough for me to jump across. Simon knows these roads really well and he told me exactly where to go and what to do, what the roads were like and all that. His experience was invaluable today”.
The chase group with Gee kept getting closer and closer and in the last few kilometers, they could see the front group up the road. On the final uphill stretch towards the line, Gee rode his heart out to catch the leading riders and pass them but he still had to settle for second place after a photo-finish.
“I’m disappointed that, after all the work the team did for me, I couldn’t take the win today. The stage was 200 km long but it could have been just a few meters longer, that would have been nice!” Gee finished off with an exhausted smile.
Today’s second place is the third time IPT’s 25-year-old Canadian is runner-up in this Giro d’Italia, his first ever Grand Tour. He’s now second in the points classification, while Israel – Premier Tech has moved up to second place in the team’s classification after today’s strong performances.
Watch the raw emotions from Gee after crossing the line below.