Mitchelton-SCOTT send Rob Stannard into Coppi e Bartali lead with TTT victory

Wed 27 Mar 2019

Australian youngster Rob Stannard raced into the lead of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali as Mitchelton-SCOTT blitzed the field to take the team time trial.

With two stages split over the day there was double the opportunity for victory and Stannard came close in the morning road stage, taking fifth in the sprint.

In the afternoon’s team time trial Mitchelton-SCOTT proved to be a class above in the discipline, taking the victory by 10 seconds and moving Stannard into the leader’s jersey.

Short and Fast Opener

Just one rider managed to escape in the opening kilometres of the 97.8km road stage, with the peloton not wanting to give themselves too much work to do on such a short course.

The solo leader was allowed a maximum of nearly four minutes but was eventually reeled back in with 20km left to race as the race passed over the only categorised climb for the third and final time.

With the bunch back together and the climbs dealt with, it was now a race to the finish on the flat roads to Gatteo. It looked destined for a sprint finale and so it proved with Stannard getting in the mix to take fifth place behind winner Emils Liepins (Wallonie-Bruxelles).

TTT Teamwork

A technical 13.3km team time trial was next on the menu, with Mitchelton-SCOTT the 10th team off the start ramp in Gatteo a Mare.

Team Sky had set a benchmark time of 14’27” as the squad began their effort and with no intermediate time checks over the course, it was a case of going full gas over the distance.

As the team crossed the line the clock stopped at 14’17”, moving them into top spot with 15 teams still to take to the course. It was an anxious wait as team after team tried to best the time, but it was to no avail and Mitchelton-SCOTT held on for their second TTT win of the season, after their stage one victory at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier in the month.

Rob Stannard:
“The morning stage I wasn’t thinking about the time trial or the bonus seconds, it was just another opportunity to win and the guys set me up really well but I didn’t have the legs in the sprint.”

“Then for the TTT we knew we would be one of the strongest teams and would be able to set ourselves up really well for the rest of the race if we had a good ride.”

“I think we rode really well seeing as how technical the course was, I think we knew if we worked smoothly and made no mistakes, our strength would show in the end.”

“It feels great to be in the leader’s jersey, I don’t think it will be an easy job tomorrow, but we do have the team to do it and we have set ourselves up well after the TTT.”

Matt Wilson (Sports Director):
“Sensational day from the boys today, it was a very short team time trial, only 13.3 kilometres and there was a bit of a  tailwind so we knew we had to go out really hard and just try and hang on.”

“The boys were super all the way to the line and we’ve got another team time trial win and the jersey by 10 seconds with Rob.”

“There’s still a long way to go, some very tough stages, starting with tomorrow but we’ll be trying to defend from here.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 1a Results:
1. Emils Liepins (Wallonie-Bruxelles) 2:17:27
2. Riccardo Stacchiotti (Giotti Victoria – Sidermec) ST
5. Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 1b Results:
1. Mitchelton-SCOTT 14:17
2. Team Sky 14:27
3. Gazprom-RusVel 14:38

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali GC After Stage 1b:
1. Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2:31:44
2. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST