After a magical first week where the team held onto the pink jersey for five days with Andreas Leknessund in the race lead, week two at the Giro d’Italia saw the Norwegian return to wearing Team DSM’s distinguished two stripe jersey, as the team set to continue their fighting spirit and showing themselves on all fronts of the race.
Racing action returned on stage ten where the team committed and attempted to close down the day’s breakaway, but a tough parcours, terrible weather conditions and a strong group out front make it hard to do, with Marius Mayrhofer ultimately sprinting to just outside the top ten as those out front fought for the stage win, ahead of a very reduced peloton. Unfortunately, the day would also see Martijn Tusveld abandon the race after a culmination of his injuries from his previous crashes.
The following stage would see a nervous affair in the peloton with a few crashes and a chase to catch the breakaway. This time the peloton would make no mistake though and the fast men would battle it out for stage honours, with Mayrhofer picking up yet another top ten placing in the finale. Stage 12 would unfortunately see Harm Vanhoucke step off the bike, suffering from gastric complaints and ongoing fatigue after what was a brutal few days of racing.
Tough conditions continued and stage 13 would be shortened due to bad weather, but with the summit finish atop Crans-Montana still lying in wait for the riders. The shorter nature made for an explosive start before things became more controlled in the peloton, with the break taking the stage honours. Nonetheless, those near the top of the order in the GC still duked it out in the closing kilometres, with Leknessund hanging tough and coming across the line a handful of seconds behind the pink jersey group.
A big battle for the breakaway on Saturday’s stage saw Mayrhofer, with the help of the guys, infiltrate a large group of 27 riders that went clear. Building up a large advantage it was obvious they would go on to fight for the stage win and things became incredibly tactical. As several teams had numbers in the group, Mayrhofer had to bide his time and chose the right moment to go on the attack; pushing the pace over an uncategorised climb which drew a group clear. Going all-in to try and fight for stage glory, Mayrhofer helped to drive the group and they would ultimately catch those ahead inside the last kilometre. Giving everything he had, Mayrhofer would have to settle for a hard-earned seventh place in the end; after a big fight out front.
Sunday’s day of racing once again saw the break fight for stage honours, with Alberto Dainese making the initial move for the team. However, over the challenging climbs he would have to let go of the break, and soon after the bunch, but he showed brilliant fighting spirit to make it to the line in Bergamo within the time cut. In the peloton, the guys worked well to position Leknessund who once again showed his strength and followed the best in the bunch over the punchy climb and fast descent into Bergamo.
All eyes turn to the final week of racing where some brutal stages and more opportunities for the team to show themselves await, but first, we’re sure the guys (and you all at home), will enjoy today’s rest day!