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It has been a relatively uneventful opening few days at the Giro d’Italia for Ineos Grenadiers as it avoided any potential mishaps during the road stages, and finished with four riders inside the top-20 positions in Saturday’s time trial.
As the race transfers to Italy, Ineos’ best placed rider overall is 20-year-old Ben Tulett in sixth, 13 seconds behind Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), who leads the overall contenders. Richie Porte is another nine seconds down in 13th while team leader Richard Carapaz had a disappointing, but not disastrous, time trial and sits 15th overall, a further two seconds back.
“[I’m] very happy, very happy for the guys,” said Ineos sport director Matteo Tosatto. “The performance but especially all in a good place, with no crashes. Only Richie Porte had a small crash on the first day.”
“I think now we have the first rest day tomorrow and we are ready for the more important stages for us but in Budapest, especially the TT, it was a really great performance,” Tosatto said. “All the guys are ready for a very important stage in Italy. The more important point is that the riders are very happy and they are a very great group.”
The Giro’s first mountain stage is next on the agenda on Tuesday as the race travels to Sicily, with a summit finish on Mount Etna whose slopes total a distance of 25.6km and reach maximum gradients of 15 percent grade.
“The first stage in Italy is a very hard stage,” Tosatto said. “It is a big test. I think [it is] the first time the Giro is going to Etna via this road because many times it has been a different approach but I think it is all ready for the big stage. Richard is still good and Ben Tulett also, Pavel [Sivakov], Richie Porte.”
It is an Ineos team that spans differing levels of age and experience with Tulett, on the one hand, riding his first grand tour, and Porte, on the other, racing his 17th.
“It is a super group,” Tosatto said. “I look in the bus, but also in the race, it is very nice the communication in the start, in the middle, also in the final which is very important. I like it.”
“I have many riders in the team who have a lot of experience with Ben Swift, [Salvatore] Puccio and Castro [Jonathan Castroviejo] I think are the best for the young riders. I also have Richard Carapaz – the leader. I think now they are all staying in very good shape.”