Hermans 10th on final stage, 6th in GC
De Marchi fights in breakaway
Sports Director Pekatch: That’s our spirit
The Israel Start-Up Nation team fought until the very end of the final stage of Coppi e Bartali, but the hard work didn’t pay off as hoped. It started out strong with a victory on the second half-stage, with ISN taking the team time trial, but a tenth-place finish on today’s stage gave Ben Hermans sixth place in the final GC. “We will try again,” vows DS Dror Pekatch.
For the second consecutive day, an ISN rider shone in the day’s breakaway group. Today it was our Italian climber Alessandro De Marchi.
“I am quite happy with today. It was good to start trying, to be in a breakaway for the first time this year.
“We had the plan to try something special with me, since I was not high in GC. But we had some top GC guys in the breakaway, so they never really let us go. I knew from the beginning this could be really hard to get to the finish.”
Alessandro was caught with less than 20 km to go, and then it was Ben Hermans’ turn. The Belgian went on to capture the points on the final KOM, hoping to attack and “create an opportunity to win the stage or move up a bit in GC.”
But two top riders got away, and no one was willing to work with Ben to catch them.
“Anyway – we tried, with De Marchi in the breakaway, and I tried when he was caught.”
The team’s goal today was “to make things hard and messy,” Dror said. “We tried the breakaway with De Marchi who was super strong the past few days and deserved the opportunity.”
And even though it didn’t work out as hoped: “De Marchi was fighting very well without even having the best day. That’s our spirit.”