Series of misfortunes for Mitchelton-SCOTT result in a frustrating day at Coppi e Bartali

Thu 22 Mar 2018

After going into their first appearance at the four-day Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali with high hopes Mitchelton-SCOTT can be forgiven their frustrations after a run of mishaps on the afternoon team time trial robbed them of the chance of a stage win.

Starting the race with a compact five-rider team the Australian outfit were looking to maximise their strengths and the opening TTT looked like a good place to start. But it just wasn’t meant to be, down to four riders early on the course, they then suffered a series of mechanicals including a puncture and bike change that lost them around 20seconds.

Still managing to take third on the stage behind Team-Sky only ten seconds apart, the team were understandably dejected at the close of play and focused on tomorrow’s second day of racing.

Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the morning’s 97kilometre road stage after the breakaway managed to hold off the peloton for an unlikely stage victory then it was Team-Sky who took control in the afternoon team time trial.

Morning Road Stage:

The day got underway with a 97kilometre road stage that included three finishing circuits of Gatteo on Italy’s east coast and the race started fast, with a trio of riders attacking from the flag drop and gaining two minutes on the bunch after 20kilometres of racing.

With the pace remaining high the trio manged to extend their lead to three minutes 30seconds ahead of the closing circuits of Gatteo before they fractured and became a duo with 15kilometres to go and still no cohesive chase behind.

Maintaining over two minutes into the final five kilometres Eenkhoorn and Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac) held on to duke out the stage 1a win with Eenkhoorn taking the victory and the bunch finishing just over a minute behind.

Afternoon TTT:

Mitchelton-SCOTT were one of the first teams down the ramp at 3:39pm local time and despite a series of misfortunes including two mechanicals and a bike change they set the early time to beat at 14minutes 54seconds, equalled shortly after by Polish outfit CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice.

Team-Sky wrapped up the TTT win with a time of 14minutes and 44seconds with Mitchelton-SCOTT in third.

Chris Juul Jensen:

“It was certainly a day to forget for us today, this afternoon it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong and we were helpless to do anything about it. Mechanicals, bike changes mid-way through, stalling motorbikes in front, everything”

“We just have to put it behind us, that’s cycling and professional sport in general, it can be very unpredictable. This morning’s road stage was bizarre, we came here without a sprinter, but still tried to get a chase going, but it didn’t happen. Nobody got organised.

“On the plus side I am feeling pretty good and so is Lucas Hamilton and we are looking ahead to tomorrow now, it will be a tough stage and we want to get something out of it."

Sport director Gene Bates:

“It’s a shame it played out the way it did for the guys this afternoon, they were going very well and with the time they set despite the problems, it’s fair to say we would probably have won that stage, but we have to move on and hope that we’ve got our bad luck out of the way for this race.”

“No other teams wanted to take the initiative this morning, we came here without a sprinter and went straight to the front anyway, trying to get something organised but it didn’t come to anything.

“It will be an uphill task now and tomorrow’s stage will be tough with the repeated ascents before the finish. We have to make sure we’re up there near the front for the last couple of circuits.”

Coppi e Bartali stage one results:

1. Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) 02:12:43

2. Lawson Craddock (EF-Education First-Drapac) ST

3. Davide Ballerini (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) +1:07

46. Chris Juul Jensen (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:07

Coppi e Bartali TTT results:

1. Team-Sky 00:14:44

2. CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice) 00:14:54

3. Mitchelton-SCOTT 00:14:54

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.