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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: López ‘ready to work in pink’ as Mollema comes up short

Trek-Segafredo hits second in stage and defends pink in big ride ahead of decisive Blockhaus stage for Giulio Ciccone.

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POTENZA, Italy (VN) — Spain’s Juan Pedro López kept the pink jersey Friday at the Giro d’Italia but he’s ready to work while wearing it for the good of his Trek-Segafredo team.

Bauke Mollema came up short in a bid for the win in Friday’s up-and-down stage, but it took the pressure off Trek-Segafredo, and allowed the young Spanish rider to carry pink one more day.

López knows his pink jersey dream will run out of steam Sunday on the Blockhaus climb, when he will slip back into his familiar role as domestique.

“I always said the objective is clear. We came here to make the GC with [Giulio] Ciccone, and if I have to work for him in the pink jersey I will do it,” López said. “And the team knows that I am not going to have any problem to do that.”

Mollema lived up to expectations Friday to drive into the hard-fought breakaway across the heart of the Apennine, but was out-gunned by two of his compatriots at Jumbo-Visma with Tom Dumoulin and stage winner Koen Bouwman.

With López in pink, Mollema could have a free ride in the break, but he was out-gunned in the finale.

“It was a super hard stage. The first 60, 70km were full-gas,” Mollema said. “I didn’t have to pull too much because we were pulling to keep the pink jersey and it was quite a good situation for us. It was not possible to beat him [Bouwman] in the sprint, but I gave everything.

“It was a nice break,” Mollema said of the Dutch-heavy breakaway. “I know those guys well, but I knew Koen was fast. It was still a pity not to finish it off.”

With Blockhaus looming Sunday, the team’s efforts will turn toward supporting Ciccone, who goes into Saturday’s nervous world’s course in Naples poised in 20th overall at 2:32 back.

The team will support the Italian climber in Sunday’s Blockhaus stage and hope to nudge him closer to the top-10 after the decisive summit finish.

López, 24, is ready to step back into the helper’s role and knows what the sentence will be Sunday.

“It’s been a great few days in pink,” he said. “Today was a hard stage, but everyone knows the GC guys are going to move on Blockhaus. They can make a big difference there, and today the finish was not on a climb.”