Andreas Leknessund managed to defend his 8th place on the GC in the Giro d’Italia on Thursday, as he crossed the finish line in 16th position after fireworks on the last climb in the mountains.
After the phenomenal win of Team DSM and Alberto Dainese on Wednesday in Caorle, the team awaited a tough mountain stage of 161 kilometres finishing in Val di Zoldo. After a fast start a group of seven riders made the jump into the breakaway, including GC-contenders Thibaut Pinot and Aurélien Paret-Peintre. This group would stay away for the whole stage. Shortly afterwards, Andreas Leknessund and Marius Mayrhofer attempted to join them, but were not let go by the peloton. A few teams at the front of the bunch then increased the pace considerably after which the group quickly thinned out.
As the reduced peloton approached the Forcella Cibiana with only 30 kilometres to go, some teams increased the pace and several riders dropped at the back. A fast descent followed after which the group of GC favourites started the finale of the stage by climbing the Coi and finishing atop the Val di Zoldo. After an attack from Roglic and Thomas, Leknessund initially managed to keep up with two riders of UAE. He kept up with them until deep into the finale and finished in a solid 16th position.
Leknessund’s massive efforts in the Italian Dolomites resulted in him staying 8th on GC as we head into the final three stages of the Giro d’Italia.