The Italian battled pain and suffering to achieve an 8th place finish in a punishing stage in Tirreno-Adriatico.

“After a few so-so seasons, this is what I needed to rebuild my confidence.”

Mads Würtz Schmidt will wear the KOM jersey again tomorrow.

Guy Niv continues his surge.


He is back. Put an official stamp on it.

Alessandro De Marchi, aka Dema, is starting to thrive again in his new family, with his new team, and in his new surroundings. “I am happy, and it shows,” he said tonight after returning to the team’s hotel near the Adriatic Sea and after finishing 8th in a punishing and punchy 5th stage in Tirreno-Adriatico.

The first sign that the 34-year-old Italian, who joined Israel Start-Up Nation this year, is making a comeback after what he calls “a few so-so years”, was when he was able to stay with the most powerful men at the finish of the second stage.

That turned out to just be a preview of today’s 209 km, in the rain and cold, with the last 100 km a roller coaster of downs and steep ups over four laps. The real show started when the great Mathieu van der Poel escaped in an astonishing solo. But in the group that was able to mount a hot pursuit was De Marchi, and soon he was even able to attack his group and leave them behind.

“I was over the limit,” he recalled later. “When the race opens so early, it becomes a roulette, and you need to anticipate the right move. You need to be smart and play your cards, and then you need to go through all the pain and suffering because you know this is exactly how you build your form.”

True to his word, he never relented, constantly pushed by our Sports Director Nicki Sorensen on the team race radio. “I knew exactly how valuable this huge effort would turn out for him,” explained  Nicki later.

But for De Marchi, this was a performance that was even more important “To my mind. This is what I needed to rebuild my confidence.” He credits his new team for the turnaround.

“I am feeling the confidence around me. Everybody is ready to support me. I needed this. I am sure the season will be a great one. You will see much more from Dema.”

Two more notes from the stage:

Mountain Jersey: although we were not able to execute our plan to get more points on the KOM leaderboard, our Mads Würtz Schmidt will continue to wear the King of the Mountain jersey in tomorrow’s 6thstage.

Israeli Guy Niv showed that his previous shining moments here were no fluke. He mounted a surprise attack mid-stage and eventually finished with some pretty impressive caliber. That’s great news for a team that is strongly committed to its core of Israeli riders and the need to push them forward.