Giro d’Italia chief Andreas Leknessund surprisingly emerged from the race’s hardest mountain stage of the primary week nonetheless in pink and together with his general benefit intact. However the DSM racer is all however placing a restrict on how lengthy he’ll keep on high of the GC.
“Tomorrow [Saturday] will likely be a tough stage, however potential to get by way of,” Leknessund mentioned after stage 7’s summit end on the Gran Sasso, “however Sunday will for positive be more durable. The time trial will most definitely be my final day.”
Leknessund’s abilities as a time triallist are well-known, one reporter identified, with two nationwide and a U23 European title in that class to his title. However because the Norwegian succinctly put it, “Sure, however right here I’ve Remco [Evenepoel] at 30 seconds.”
“It is going to be an enormous shock if I can maintain the jersey within the time trial.”
Moderately than assume an excessive amount of about Sunday, the Norwegian was delighted that there had been no GC battle in any respect on the Gran Sasso. That made for a singularly boring stage, nevertheless it additionally meant that he had pushed his four-day spell within the Giro lead out by one other 24 hours at the least.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t all about good luck that he was nonetheless in pink. As Leknussund defined, the staff had intentionally let a break go to take in the bonus seconds, after which completed ‘a extremely good job’ defending the lead, however “ensuring the break took the stage.”
Though one of many riders within the break, Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), was 7:49 again on GC, DSM’s technique was first to let the break’s hole yawn to over 12 minutes on the mammoth 218 kilometres stage. Nonetheless, that this was a tactical transfer to maintain the lead turned clear when Leknessund’s teammates then labored arduous so far as the highest of the climb instantly Gran Sasso, the second class Calascio, to drag the break’s lead again beneath eight minutes.
With the break too far forward for the GC bunch to achieve, DSM’s second half of the pink jersey gamble was that the general contenders like Evenepoel and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) may then not assault en path to the end on the Gran Sasso. To Leknessund’s nice fortune – but additionally with that planning in place to take most benefit of the shortage of GC motion – that proved to be the case.
Requested if he was shocked there have been no assaults on the Gran Sasso, Leknessund supplied a number of ideas as to why. “It was a better day than anticipated, there have been a variety of headwinds, and never many groups wished to take issues on too early as a result of it was a protracted technique to the highest,” he defined.
“Additionally, there have been no bonus seconds.” “Possibly the snow and the chilly helped, too, maybe no person wished to combat due to the chilly.” So if the Giro GC remained frozen within the ice and snow of the Sasso consequently, Leknessund argued that “It was a bit sudden. However that’s how it may be on a day like that.”
“I loved the final climb, although,” he concluded- and now the possibilities of him having fun with a couple of extra days in pink are very excessive, too.