Brandon McNulty (Rally-UHC) took overall victory at the four-stage UCI 2.1-category Giro di Sicilia, Saturday. The win makes the 21-year-old the first American GC winner in the race’s 24-year history.
Guillaume Martin (Wanty Groupe-Gobert) attacked with two kilometers to go on the stage’s summit finish on Mount Etna, but failed to take enough time to overhaul McNulty’s overnight 59-second GC lead, which he took after a solo attack and stage win on stage 3.
“I knew what I had to do and I think I used my time trialing ability skills to defend,” said McNulty. “The attacks went but it was with one kilometer to go and you can’t gain much in that short distance. It was just steady Eddy the whole way.”
The victory came as a result of a huge team effort from Rally-UHC, who set a high tempo through the 20km final climb to control a flurry of attacks that went as the gradient kicked, and mitigate a threatening move by Dayer Quintana (Neri-Sotolli) with around 8km remaining. The team paced their leader through to the closing kilometers, with Colin Joyce, Rob Britton and Kyle Murphy taking huge pulls.
“The team were incredible, they totally sold out for me and I was able to finish it off,” said McNulty. “It was a huge team effort that’s for sure.”
Martin launched his winning move with just two kilometers to go and soloed to the line, winning the stage by 10 seconds over Fausto Masnada (Androni-Giocattoli), with Quintana taking third. McNulty finished fourth, 14 seconds after the stage winner.
“It’s one heck of a climb,” said McNulty. “It was a long climb. I think it was an epic last day.”
The GC win is the biggest stage race victory in the team’s second year at the Professional Continental level.
“Personally, I am very excited for the future,” said team Managing Director Charles Aaron. “To have races like Sicily, Tour of Turkey, Fleche Wallone, Tour de Yorkshire, and Amgen Tour of California see value in our program is a positive sign for our program.”