The young Hungarian rider showed his strength over the three ascents to the finishing town and was even able to drop some of the race’s biggest names in the closing kilometers of the final 6.9-kilometer category one climb before digging deep to secure a top ten finish.
Earlier in the day, Kamil Małecki flew the flag for CCC Team at the front of the race, riding in the day’s large 21-rider breakaway which went clear in the opening 30 kilometers of the 190-kilometer race.
The Polish rider, who took fourth following an excellent ride on stage 16, once again showed he is coming to the end of the race in good shape, putting in a solid effort out in front, helping the group to open up an advantage of more than seven minutes.
However, with the General Classification battle well and truly on behind him, the gap began to fall, and eventually, as a result of the pressure being applied behind, the group split with riders spread out all across the ride as those battling for the overall title moved to the front of the race with 10 kilometers to go.
Valter continued to push hard as part of the pink jersey group which was chasing a trio of riders from which the stage winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team INEOS), and new race leader, Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb), would come.
Valter’s result today takes CCC Team’s total of top ten results at the ‘corsa rosa’ to eight ahead of the final time trial tomorrow.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“I felt good from the start but, I didn’t really know if I had the legs because it was a pretty relaxed start after the breakaway with Kamil went clear. To be honest, this last week was really hard for me. I had never ridden in the grupetto until two days ago when I was really on my limit. Today, I also thought maybe I had to just finish the stage but when we arrived to Sestriere for the first time, I already felt some good sensations and there was not a lot of riders left in the main group. Then, when we climbed from Cesana Torinese for the first time, I found really good legs. I always get motivation when I see big names dropping and on the second climb, I saw Fuglsang distanced for example and, for me as a young rider, it definitely helps motivate you and it showed me that after 20 days, I can still fight with these riders.”
“On the last climb, I was totally on my limit but when I saw that Nibali was getting dropped, that gave me a bit of a boost too. It showed me that I was racing for a top ten place and although it wasn’t a win, I am in front of big riders and amongst them too so it felt nice and gives me a lot of confidence. I have raced with good legs many times during this race but not had so much success so this top ten result is a big relief for me. I think how I raced today was a big improvement on how I was racing at the start of the Giro. There were maybe days where I had the legs to finish top ten before but I didn’t know how to do it, I still have to learn a lot and sometimes I think I waste too much energy just trying to stay with the bunch. However, today, I think I had the experience to race the way I wanted too and I arrived on the climbs feeling fresh while others were maybe on the limit and on other stages I felt like it was the opposite.”
“I think it was good to go out there and be at the front of the race today. I felt like I had good legs so why not try something and be part of the action. The group was working well together but, in the end, with the GC riders racing hard behind us, our advantage quickly began to fall on the circuits around Sestriere. Overall, I’m feeling quite happy with my shape at the end of three hard weeks.”
Stage 20: Alba > Sestriere (190km)
Top 3: 1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) 3. Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers)
CCC Team Top 3: 9. Attila Valter 27. Kamil Małecki 43. Joey Rosskopf