‘Surprisingly Difficult’ First Week
Evans said the 170-kilometer race, which finished on the course that will host this year’s UCI world road race championships, was a difficult stage made more challenging by the weather. “Every day has been full of surprises,” he said. “You prepare as best for these stages and hope for the best. When a storm comes in and it rains and you are driving your car, you turn your wipers on and you slow down a bit. But in the peloton, that’s not the case at all. It’s been a real test of positioning, staying in front, having a bit of luck and no technical problems. So it’s been a surprisingly difficult first week.” Maxim Belkov (Katusha) was in the day’s early breakaway before soloing the final 40 km to take the stage win 44 seconds ahead of three chasing riders. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) kept the overall lead by finishing 10th, in the same time as Evans, who finished 63 seconds behind Belkov. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said it was good to see Evans with so much support in the later part of the stage. “The team was around him with Ivan Santaromita and Steve Morabito and also Danilo Wyss and Daniel Oss were helping close the gaps on the last climb,” Baldato said.