5 stage wins & 13 days in pink, MTS end their Giro story on a high

Sun 27 May 2018

Australian registered WorldTour team Mitchelton-SCOTT has concluded the first Grand Tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia, in Rome this evening with five stage wins, including three in the pink jersey, and 13 days in the race lead.

The eight-man team fought through the glorious highs and the difficult lows of cycling to finish the Italian three-week race having animated much of the first two weeks, before eventually walking away with one of the best performances of the team’s history.

Starting with the highest of highs:
In a dream start, Mitchelton-SCOTT took the first mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia, day six up to Mt Etna, by the horns to claim a memorable one-two on the stage to move Simon Yates into the race lead.

In what is one of the best days in the team’s history, Esteban Chaves and Jack Haig escaped in a large breakaway before Chaves attacked solo with 5.5km remaining. As the GC group moved closer, Yates attack from behind to join his teammate in the front of the race before honouring him a well-deserved stage win and moving the Mitchelton-SCOTT duo to first and third overall.

Leading from the front:
With the race lead but still plenty to ride for, particularly extra seconds ahead of time trial specialists Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Chris Froome (Team Sky), Yates and Mitchelton-SCOTT led from the front.

The aggressive tactics made for spectacular racing, scarce hope for breakaway attempts and a legion of fans across the roads of Italy.

But more so, it resulted in three impressive stage victories to Yates in the Maglia Rosa, a feat not accomplished since Gilberto Simoni in 2003.

13 days in Pink - an invaluable learning curve:
Despite having twice been in the position of race leader, at both the 2018 Paris-Nice and 2017 Tour de Romandie, the Giro d’Italia was the first time in his short professional career that Yates was able to defend it.

The 25-year-old did so, in impressive and aggressive fashion, to excite fans for 13 days before he slipped off the pace on stage 19. More so, it was the way Yates handled the increased responsibility, attention, post-race procedures and media that bodes well for future Grand Tour feats.

Bouncing back from the lows:
In a test of character truer than any efforts whilst riding the highs of the first 18 days, was the team’s ability to bounce back from the lows of stage 19.

Suffering from exhaustion, Yates slipped off the back of the bunch on the first climb and out of the pink jersey just three days from Rome.

But rather than accept the disappointment as a conclusion, the team showed incredible strength to refocus the following day and position Mikel Nieve in the breakaway and to an eventual solo victory on the penultimate day.

Signing off from Rome:
After 21 days, the race rolled around Rome for a ceremonious start with the pink jersey firmly on the back of Chris Froome (Team Sky). The start in earnest kicked off after three laps when a large breakaway with Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Chris Juul-Jensen made their bold attempt. As expected, the sprint teams controlled proceedings and the eventual bunch sprint was won by Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Matt White – Head Sport director:
“We came to the Giro with ambitions of winning our first Grand Tour. 

“We went about it in an aggressive style of racing that has not been seen for a long time. Our four stage wins, with three in the pink jersey, really created an incredible buzz around the cycling world. 

“The team was 100% behind Simon and although he lost the jersey so close to the finish we are all so proud of how he represented the team in one of the world's biggest sporting events.

“Then to cap off and incredible win by Mikel Nieve, directly after the disappointment of losing our dream, shows the real character of this team and this Giro will never be forgotten.

“Even with five stage wins and 13 days in the pink jersey we will go back and analyse the race and come back hungrier for more success in 2019.”

Giro d’Italia – Stage 21 Results:
1. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)
2. Elia Viviani (Quickstep Floors) 
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team) 
14. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT)

Giro d’Italia – FINAL General Classification:
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 89:02:39
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:46
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) +4:57
17. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +58:16

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.