You have to imagine the mental strength needed to ride so many kilometres, to endure so much effort and to deal with the ups and downs inherent to the Grand Tours. The day before, during a particularly exhausting stage, Guillaume Martin had been dropped by the leading men.
The disillusionment of the evening and his apologies to the whole team were quickly filed in the box of painful memories. Because from the first kilometres on the foothills of the Passo del Tonale, there were many attacks. Among the most offensive riders: Guillaume Martin. For a while, he was part of a chasing group, but then he joined the river breakaway, composed of 23 riders.
Tomorrow, Consonni's turn?
On the climb of Giovo, after several kilometres of descent, the group splits in two and Guillaume is still at the front. The leader of the Cofidis team was for a long time one of the main animators of the race and he took the lead in a symbolic intermediate sprint. Then, he led the race behind Mathieu Van der Poel and the leading riders, before finishing the stage in 9th place, 2 min 59 sec behind the winner, Santiago Buitrago. In the overall classification, Guillaume is still 16th, 25 min 52 sec behind the pink jersey, Richard Carapaz.
Tomorrow, the big mountainous difficulties are over! The stage between Borgo Valsugana and Treviso should be much less eventful. Along the 156 km, the riders will be able to admire the Prosecco vineyards before switching to the final circuit. There, the sprinters' teams will be in action and for good reason: this is the last opportunity of this Giro to show themselves for the massive sprinters. Davide Cimolai and Simone Consonni will have to do their utmost to give the best.
Guillaume Martin: "Today, I wasn't imperial, only a little bit better than yesterday. I ran intelligently, I knew how to anticipate as I needed to. I couldn't do much better but it's already better than yesterday. I'm getting better in the downhill and I'm gaining confidence as the days go by. It was a solid stage, although not a transcendent one. There are still two opportunities to aim for a stage win and I will be on the offensive again!"
Roberto Damiani, Directeur Sportif: "Guillaume showed great strength of character when he slipped into the breakaway. He gave everything to get a result. And this 9th place is a good result. It feels good and it shows a great reaction. Hats off to him. Guillaume is really a warrior!