Stannard wins final stage, points classification and finishes third overall at the Giro d’Italia U23

Sat 16 Jun 2018

Australian Rob Stannard produced an outstanding time trial to win the final stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia U23 and climb his way into third place overall for Chinese Continental team Mitchelton-BikeExchange whilst also winning the points classification.

Today’s final day of racing was split into two with a short road stage in the morning followed by a challenging individual time trial in the afternoon. Despite a huge crash wiping out a big chunk of the peloton on the road stage, Stannard managed to avoid the chaos to finish in the front group and ensure he got a good start in the TT.

The format of the time trial was more of a chase with the race leaders setting off first and everyone else following in running order of the GC, similar to a grid start seen in Formula one.

The time to beat was set by Italian Edoardo Affini (SEG-Racing-Academy) and his time held until U23 World TT Champion Mikkel Bjerg (Hagens-Berman-Axeon) broke 30minutes to move into the hot seat.

As the overall contenders started their efforts the tension mounted with all at stake and it was Stannard who produced the standout ride to win the stage and move into third place overall behind race winner Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) to conclude a successful Giro for the Chinese outfit.

Ten days of spectacular racing and team spirit:

A tough ten days of racing produced fireworks and surprises on nearly every stage with tough terrain and strong competition vying for the top spots. Australian track specialist Callum Scotson was forced to abandon early on due to sickness and Mitchelton-BikeExchange were down to five.

The team remained positive and new signing Drew Morey, Colombian climber Brayan Chaves and Briton Jacob Hennessy rode strongly and intelligently throughout in support of Sam Jenner and Stannard. With top ten finishes on all but one stage, it was a highly consistent week for the team and capped beautifully by a final stage win, the red point's jersey and third overall.

Suffering the effects of a crash on the penultimate stage Chaves did not start the final day and watched on by the roadside, supporting his teammates before heading back to Colombia next week for a period of recovery after a positive first spell of European racing.

Rob Stannard:

“I am really happy with how it went today, I was seventh at the start of the time trial and to have won the stage and also gained enough time to make the podium and hold onto the point's jersey is fantastic.”

“The team have been great throughout the race and everyone really worked hard for each other and we also showed a lot of trust in each other. I’ve shown in this race that I can climb with the best and if it wasn’t for the one bad day on stage four I could have finished even higher.

“After such a long and tough ten days, it’s great to get the stage win on the last day, I was so tired, and the final climb felt like it would never end, but it couldn’t have ended better.”

Sport director James Victor:

“Rob has been so consistent throughout the Giro and the red point's jersey is the perfect testament to that. There was only one day when he lost time and he bounced back immediately. He rode a near faultless time trial today and it may have taken until the last day, but we got that stage win.”

“All of the guys have ridden well and shown great commitment to the team and to each other, they have all learned a lot from the experience and can take many positives away from the race. I am really satisfied with how it’s finished, we set our goals coming in and to achieve them at such a high level and challenging race is excellent.”

Giro d’Italia U23 stage 9 results:

1. Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) 00:29:25

2. Joao Almeida (Hagens-Berman-Axeon) +0:11

3. Mikkel Bjerg (Hagens-Berman-Axeon) +0:31

Final general classification:

1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) 29:57:42

2. Joao Almeida (Hagens-Berman-Axeon) +0:46

3. Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:52

Photos courtesy of Twila Federica Muzzi.