Hamilton stays in contact over the climbs for top ten on stage two at Coppi e BartaliFri 23 Mar 2018
Australian neo-pro Lucas Hamilton produced a mature performance on stage two of Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali to take eighth on the stage for Mitchelton-SCOTT staying in the mix with an elite group of world class climbers.
Another fast and frantic road stage unfolded in Reggio-Emilia today over a challenging course that was full of relentless, short and steep climbs that was used to full advantage by eventual stage winner Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).
Once the earlier breakaway had been caught and passed by a reduced front group that included Hamilton and Chris Juul Jensen the race came alive.
Hamilton brilliantly matched the moves over the climbs, but lost contact on the final descent towards the line with Mollema taking the victory and Diego Rosa (Team-Sky) in second and moving into the race lead and Hamilton up to seventh on GC.
A group of six riders managed to make the jump over the opening kilometres and by the 50kilometre mark had developed a lead of two and a half minutes over the peloton.
That was the maximum the break would reach as LottoNL-Jumbo looked to keep things close together and control the situation for race leader Pascal Eenkhoorn with the catch coming ahead of the final lap from reduced peloton that included Juul Jensen and Hamilton.
Attacks continued to fly over the closing 20kilometres as the group split further with six riders gaining advantage and only five kilometres remaining.
A fast final few hundred metres saw the road kick slightly upwards to the line with Mollema proving the strongest of the leading six and taking the stage win.
Lucas Hamilton 8th:
“It was full on all day today and despite lots of punctures again on the sketchy roads, team did a great job of looking after me and Chris, so we were in a position to compete in the front group over the final climbs.”
“The course was really tough, constantly up and down on small roads and overall we rode more positively today, and I felt really good over the climbs. I managed to stay at a solid pace with the Mollema and Rosa group until the last ascent when they really went at each other and gained a gap.
“I tried to make contact again on the descent, but I’d had a near miss earlier in the stage and had lost some confidence on the downhill. It’s frustrating because I felt like I could have made it into the top six, but I couldn’t bridge over by the time we approached the line.”
Sport director Gene Bates:
“Lucas is riding really impressively for a neo-pro in his first season with a WorldTour team, he was exceptional today and Chris – when you take into consideration that he isn’t a climber.
“They were both up there competing at the end with Chris only losing contact on the last couple of climbs and Lucas riding well into the last few kilometres. It was an unbelievably hard day and the climbs weren’t long, but they were unrelenting.
“We wanted to try and take advantage of that and the wind mid-way through the stage and try to shake things up, but it didn’t play out that way, so the focus went into positioning Chris and Lucas for the final circuits.
“It was a much more positive day for us today and we can take a lot of positives out of such a mature ride from Lucas against a class field.”
Coppi e Bartali stage two results:
1. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 03:36:23
2. Diego Rosa (Team-Sky) +0:02
3. Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) +0:03
8. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:33
General classification after stage two:
1. Diego Rosa (Team-Sky) 06:04:53
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +0:07
3. Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) +0:26
7. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:47