This morning, hours before we departed for the start of the Giro Next Gen final stage, the riders gathered for the last briefing by Team Sports director Ruben Plaza.

Ruben discussed the team’s final chance to get our leader, Pau Marti, onto the podium. Pau desperately needed just one second, the one second he couldn’t secure in the last two stages despite giving it his all. But now there was an alternative: the tie with Tudor rider Mathys Rondel, who sat ahead of him, could be broken if Pau finished two spots ahead of him today.

Could he do it? If there was one person who remained calm, it was Pau himself. “I hardly lose my head. I am calculated and make sure to stay positive. And I trust myself and my teammates. So why panic?”

Hours later, in the heat of the final stage, the kid from Moixent proved that his words were not empty. When the breakaway escaped with a GC rider that could jeopardize his chances, he maintained his position at the front and let the other riders close the gap, which they did.

And when the group approached the finish, he made sure to attack in the last 50 meters to shake off the Tudor rider who was sitting on his wheel. “I attacked on the left side, my only opening. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I knew I needed to sprint the best I could,” he said. “Then I heard my rival sound upset behind me and I knew that I had probably made it.”

He was right. His rival finished four spots behind him. More than enough.

Third place in the GC was secured, marking an amazing achievement for the 19-year-old and the whole team.

“It’s a remarkable milestone,” said Director Ruben Plaza. “I am so proud of Pau and his teammates.”

Ron Baron, who founded Israel Cycling Academy 10 years ago, called it a “historic moment and further proof that our Academy program is one of the world’s best.”

The last word goes to young Israeli Imry Faingezicht, who was impressive in the first major race of his career. For him, it was also a tribute to his cyclist friend Guy Timor, who was killed by a reckless driver. He raced from kilometer one with a black armband. “I still can’t comprehend that we lost him,” he said. “The whole race was both a mix of sadness and happiness.“