INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Giro di Sicilia

Zimmermann 9th in penultimate stage


Six early escapees played a main role in the third stage of the Tour of Sicily (2.1) between Realmonte and Piazza Armerina in the provinces of Agrigenta and Enna.

Not long after the start at the south coast of the Italian island the breakaway was formed on the first slopes of Naro (15.6km at 2.6%), the first categorized climb of the day. The seven riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert stayed united in the stretched peloton which crossed the hilly countryside with a strong headwind 4 minutes behind the leaders.

After the forced abandon of Gerben Thijssen because of physical problems, the peloton was skimmed in the explosive final race hour. The climbers in the selection under the direction of Jean-Marc Rossignon survived the selection as one unit and were part of a group of twenty riders after an explosion of the peloton on one of the steep sections with 10 kilometer to go. 

Behind the last survivor of the early breakaway, several groups joined each other and sprinted for second place. German rider Georg Zimmermann took ninth place and approaches the top twenty of the general classification, were Domenico Pozzovivo (5th) and Louis Meintjes (13th) are on the eve of the final stage towards the top of the Etna.

The Tour of Sicily is a nice discovery for me. I enjoy to be back racing, the excellent conditions and our good teamspirit. This race was the perfect opportunity to return into competition after my crash in Milano-Torino. After three days of racing we’re in a good position with the team, but the most difficult part is yet to come. I’m expecting a very hard battle on the slopes of the Etna tomorrow. It is probably the first time in my career that I will race on such a hard climb. But with our good starting position in GC, our focus on the queen stage and our two strong climbers we are confident that we can finish our good work from the past three days in style. Everyone is motivated to give it their all during four and a half very intense hours!

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