Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team | 3rd place for Giovanni Visconti at Stage 4 at Vuelta al País Vasco
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3rd place for Giovanni Visconti at Stage 4 at Vuelta al País Vasco

  |   Press

Bilbao, 6th April – BAHRAIN MERIDA riders showed another great performance today, on the 174,1 km long 4th stage of Pais Vasco. After a good team performance and a good position throughout the race, Giovanni Visconti took 3rd place and outdid yesterday’s performance. The rest of the team followed closely.


Riders crossed basque coastline from Donostia to Bilbao in today’s stage. The road seemed quite flat in the first kilometres, without any mountain passes, but actually it was more hilly than it seemed. Orio, Itziar or Ereño hills didn’t give riders any points, but they did make them work hard even before climbing Sollube (Cat. 2) and Bibero (Cat. 2). Both climbs had an average slope bigger than 8%, and the riders had to really show their strength in the last climb, before arriving to Gran Via avenue in Bilbao.


30 km to go, riders passed Gran Via avenue for the first time. Leading group of 4 riders had a 55 sec advantage at that time, but the last kilometre ahead of them was hilly so the real battle between the best climbers was still ahead of them. Near the city centre, riders were still very close together and only a few meters to go, some of the riders crashed hard.


“Luckily we didn’t crash at the last corner with some of the others. We arrived with three riders in the front. I think we have a good team for tomorrow’s race, which will be a hard one again,” said satisfied Ion Izaguirre.


Tsgabu Grmay added: “It was a hard race, with too much stress, especially at the last climb. My role was to stay with Ion and I stayed with him and watched if somebody would attack. We all finished well, Giovanni did a good sprint. I think we all did a good job.”


Giovanni Visconti took 3rd place: “Another good race for me and the team. We arrived in the first group and that is very important for Ion. We were in front of the bunch the whole day. Tomorrow we will go forward for the best general classification. I am very satisfied with my condition, I have finally found continuity and mentality as they should be and I am really happy.”


“It was another hard and fast stage, with ups and downs, and also another good day for our team,” commented Philippe Mauduit, sports director after the race. “Like yesterday, riders did a good job, every one of them, throughout the whole day. They had to save energy through the race for the last part. When they arrived on the final climb, they were in front in a good position for the strategic point of the day. Ion and Tsgabu were in the first group on the top and Giovanni was in the second group. He came back on the downhill and as yesterday we gave him freedom to do a good sprint and that is what he did. He came 3rd to the finish line which is a good result for him and for the whole team.”


“I am satisfied with the way they are riding as a team. We are aiming to achieve a good overall classification,” concluded Mauduit.


PHOTO: BettiniPhoto, MIWA Iijima, Press BAHRAIN MERIDA