Sajnok showed his strength and speed as he powered towards the finish line in Lido di Camaiore today, battling for the stage win, which ultimately went to Pascal Ackermann (BORA- hansgrohe), in a world-class field of sprinters on the opening stage of the eight-day Italian stage race.
An early seven rider breakaway, which would eventually split to become just two-riders strong, was allowed to go clear on the first of three laps of the 26.8-kilometer Monte Pitoro circuit, which included a short but punchy 3.9-kilometer, but the peloton didn’t want to give them too much room to maneuver and, as a result, their advantage was limited to three minutes.
As the crossed the line for the first of two 18.3-kilometer laps of the completely flat second circuit, the gap to the leading duo was hovering around 40 seconds, and with the chase only continuing to intensify the race was back together as the bell rand, setting the stage the previously predicted bunch sprint.
Łukasz Wiśniowski and Georg Zimmermann helped keep Sajnok well-positioned up near the front of the bunch during the hectic final kilometers, and thanks to their hard work, the Polish sprinter was primed and ready to launch his sprint in the final few hundred meters of the 133-kilometer stage.
Sajnok looked strong, moving up through the field with ease and it looked like he would round out the podium positions but in the end, he had to settle for fourth place after a late burst of acceleration for the BORA – Hansgrohe rider saw him move up late on the right-hand side of the home straight to take the win.
This result saw Sajnok head onto the podium at the end of the day, finishing as the Best Young Rider on the opening day of racing and leaving him wanting more ahead of what is set to be another day for the fast men in the bunch tomorrow.
A crash split the peloton just before the flamme rouge but, fortunately, all seven CCC Team riders were able to avoid it and finished safely.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“I’m happy with my performance today especially as I didn’t feel too good before the start of the day. I think fourth against the sprinters at this race is a good result, of course, I would have liked better but it’s never easy and always a bit of a gamble in a bunch sprint. It was a chaotic finish after a fast stage but the team worked well, Wisniowski and Zimmermann were a big help to me in the last kilometers and thanks to them, I was in a good position and out of the way when the crash happened. It’s nice to finish on the podium as the Best Young Rider as well and I will wear it with pride tomorrow.”
“We don’t have one of the big favorites here but we are all motivated to race hard and if I get the chance, I will definitely be trying again on tomorrow’s stage.”
Stage 1: Lido di Camaiore > Lido di Camaiore (133km)
Top 3: 1. Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe) 2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) 3. Magnus Cort (EF Education First)
CCC Team Top 3: 4. Szymon Sajnok 29. Georg Zimmermann