Stannard shows his sprint legs taking his first individual UCI podium with 2nd place at Giro Toscana

Wed 16 Sep 2020

Birthday boy, Robert Stannard displayed great speed and power today to claim an impressive second place at Giro Della Toscana; his first individual UCI podium placing.

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) stole the race victory after opening up his sprint early, catching his rivals by surprise, with the 22-year-old Mitchelton-SCOTT rider drawing closer and closer towards the line as Gaviria began to fade, but eventually having to settle for a solid second place.

Eight escape
In the opening 20km of the 182.9km one-day race, eight riders jumped away from the peloton and quickly established a lead of over four minutes.

Teams Arkea-Samsic and UAE Team Emirates took control of the peloton and allowed the breakaway to remain ahead for most of the day as riders tackled the undulating Tuscan roads.

Climb causes gaps
Once the peloton arrive to the 50km to go mark, the pace on the climbs saw the peloton reduce in size with riders also dropping from the breakaway.

Mitchelton-SCOTT helped drive the tempo on the climb in an attempt to try and drop some of the pure sprinters, but everything returned together again with still plenty of kilometres to be ridden to the finish.

In control
With 15km to go, up and over the final climb of the day, the breakaway held onto a short one-minute advantage and consisted of only five riders with their time gap constantly reducing down.

The race headed up a climb for the final time where a chase group of around 15riders gapped the reducing peloton. The Australian outfit were well represented in the move with three riders, Dion Smith, Callum Scotson and Stannard. 

Finally at the eight kilometre to go mark, the race returned back together again but with a slightly reduced main peloton.

Early jump
The bunch barrelled down the finish line with Gaviria opening up his sprint early, catching his rivals by surprise. Stannard came from behind and began to hunt down the Colombian, gaining ground all the way to the line but the line came too early and the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider had to settle for second place. 

Rob Stannard – Second Place
“I am definitely happy; I wouldn’t usually think of myself like a pure sprinter and considering some of the guys in the race today, I am definitely happy with my sprint in the end.

"The guys did a great job to put me into position there in the final. Konychev did a pretty amazing job; he brought my all the way up the side into the final straight.

"Gaviria took me by surprise and I wasn’t sure if he was going to go all the way from there but I knew I just had to commit then at that moment and try to follow which was actually good as I also got a bit of a jump on the other guys and had a clear run.”

Dave McPartland – Sport Director
“We put the gas down on the climb with 50km to go to try and get rid of Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) and Gaviria. We shelled a lot of guys, maybe 50 riders but we didn’t get rid of Gaviria so we cancelled that and tried to not waste too much energy.

“It was an aggressive final, we had a move with three riders in the final 15km and that would have been good to stay away to the finish but once it came back it was about setting it up for Stannard.

“Gaviria really opened up his sprint early and immediately got about five bike lengths. It was a great sprint by Rob, a great result and especially in a sprint like that with a pure sprinter like Gaviria. He can be very happy with his performance today."

2020 Giro Della Toscana Results:

  1. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 4:14:36
  2. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
  3. Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) ST

Photo courtesy of Getty