UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti put in an historic performance on Stage six of the Giro d’Italia as he claimed a second placed finish – a result that rockets the Italian to the top of the General Classification (GC) standings and into the pink jersey.
Conti was part of the 12-man breakaway who made their move early on the 238km route from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo, and the youngster helped dictate the pace for much of the day, with the breakaway having a solid lead on the peloton for the majority of the race. As the leading group approached the final climb, riders were looking on in anticipation of who would make the first attempt to pull away; and it came in the form of Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec), but he was quickly caught by UAE Team Emirates’ Conti. The pair were in magnificent form and gained 35 seconds on the chasing group and over 7 minutes on the peloton with less than 20km to go.
Conti covered the climb with his Italian compatriot, showing great stamina and mental strength on what was an extremely long day at the saddle. The duo battled on and gained an even larger time advantage on the peloton as they came into the closing kilometre.
With just meters to go, Masnada pulled away to take the stage win, but the plaudits go to Conti who will go into Friday’s Stage seven wearing the pink jersey – the first time ever a UAE Team Emirates rider has worn the leading jersey at a Grand Tour. The result is also UAE Team Emirates’ fourth podium finish in as many days after Fernando Gaviria and Diego Ulissi picked up top three finishes earlier this week.
Commenting on the historic achievement, Conti said: “It’s a dream come true for me. Before the start we thought it could be possible to get the jersey but it’s never easy to do something like this. It certainly didn’t come by chance. We had a goal, and we worked hard for it. I know it won’t be easy but I’ll try to keep the pink jersey for as long as possible. Every stage is hard so we have to be ready and ride as a team to be at our best.”