Nizzolo: “It was hard to control today, and during the stage we lost some points. For the second sprint there was a lot of stress – maybe too much – and in the end the breakaway was gone and for us that was not bad, so we let them go for the jersey. The final sprint was a bit chaotic, but I took 3rd of the bunch and in front of my main competitors so it all worked out.”
After a string of six times finishing second in bunch finishes at the Giro d’Italia in the past two years, Nizzolo was poised to try and break the curse Sunday, but the finale played out with tactics that determined otherwise.
When two riders escaped on the circuits it became a calculated game for Trek Factory Racing: chase and risk losing the red jersey, or don’t chase and forego a chance at a stage win, something Nizzolo - and the team - have been chasing vigilantly the past three weeks.
In the end the decision was taken to wait, but mysteriously none of the other rival sprinters’ teams took up the reins in the last lap, and the chase sputtered, allowing the two leaders to fight out the victory, won by Etixx-Quick Step’s Iljo Keisse.
Nizzolo: “For sure to win both – the stage and the jersey – would have been the perfect scenario, but anyway I can be happy to win this jersey here in Milan, which is my city and I am really proud to go on the podium.
“We decided to go for the jersey and let the breakaway be; I could lose everything if we arrived all together. We wanted to put pressure on Lampre [Merida] in the chase and they tried, but they didn’t have enough to bring it back. In the end, the two guys were strong, and no one could bring them back.
“The teams who were pulling seemed to have run out of steam and the peloton slowed down a little bit in the last lap, but the two guys in front went pretty fast, also. We just tried to sprint for the third place. Now we will try again next year.”