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"So, I think that 60% of the stage goes to Ferrari and the other 40% goes to Max, because in the end, I just did the sprint, which, in terms of effort, is minimal compared with what those two. So today I absolutely had to win for...

Photo: Tour of Turkey/Brian Hodes

GIRO D'ITALIA

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SACHA MODOLO

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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22.05.2015 @ 20:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a number of near-misses, Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) finally opened his grand tour account when he finished off an excellent lead-out to win the completely flat stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia. Coming off Maximilano Richeze’s wheel, he narrowly held off Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) in a crash-marred finale that saw both Richie Porte (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) go down with 3.2km to go.

 

Sacha Modolo has long been described as one of the greatest Italian sprinting talents but he has never had much luck in the grand tours. Going into this year’s edition of the Giro d’Italia, his best result was his second place behind Mark Cavendish in the final stage of the 2013 race and he was determined to finally set things straight in 2015.

 

In the first sprint stages, Modolo has failed to take the win but he has had reason to be extremely confident. The lead-out train of Roberto Ferrari and Maximilano Richeze has completely dominated the sprint finishes and always delivered their sprinter in the perfect position. In stage 10, he was narrowly edged out in the sprint of the peloton but that day it was only good enough for sixth as the early break had stayed away.

 

Today he had his final chance to take some success before the race enters the high mountains and the completely flat stage 13 seemed to give his best opportunity yet. With a technical finale and wet roads, he was expected to benefit from his great bike-handling skills and that prediction turned out to be true as he finally managed to take that elusive grand tour stage win after a perfect lead-out performance.

 

"It's amazing to obtain the first victory in the Giro d'Italia on the roads close to my hometown, everything is so perfect," Modolo said. "At the end of a long chase, I finally got the succeess: I missed out in Genoa, I was close in Castiglione della Pescaia while I lost a good chance in Fiuggi. In Forlì, the breakaway stayed away so today was the last chance for the sprinters before Milan. I did not miss it, thanks to an amazing support I received from my team mates. Richeze and Ferrari were impressive, they led me to the final straight where I could do the ideal sprint. This is the best victory in my career.

 

"I'm only 27 and I'm one of the oldest members of the team, and we're generally a team of young riders who are full of ambition and fire. Just look at Polanc, who came in and won himself a stage. We're the only team to have won three stages: uphill, mixed and sprint. I don't think we have a time trial specialist for tomorrow, but otherwise, we're pretty complete.

"They told me that Ferrari was available, and we tried slowly to adjust the train. Before, Ferrari was a sprinter, so it wasn't easy to insert him in front of Max Richeze. In February and March, when I wasn't racing, we experimented with some drills. My objective was to create a group of riders around me, not exclusively, because we are interchangeable with Ulissi, and we can work for the others too, but, in any case, to put Ferrari into the line with me and Max. It wasn't easy, because he has always been the last man and has never done lead-outs, but it has gone well, and today he was amazing.

 

"Paolini appeared alongside me, and he wanted to pull, which was perfect because it was a long way just for us, so putting Paolini in the middle of the line  worked out perfectly. Ferrari did the work of two people. He helped me and Max greatly: he rode the roundabouts and the curves the way we wanted, so that no one risked falling, and he pulled for 600m alone. So, I think that 60% of the stage goes to Ferrari and the other 40% goes to Max, because in the end, I just did the sprint, which, in terms of effort, is minimal compared with what those two. So today I absolutely had to win for those two, and for the team."

"It's a hard question because I have always said that I don't consider myself a great champion or an exceptional natural talent," he said when asked about what he can achieve. "In my first year, I was fourth in Milano-Sanremo, and I still have no idea how I did it. The result was that you journalists expect so much more of me.

 

"I simply try to improve from season to season. Last year I took my first ProTour wins in Switzerland and China. This year, I prepared hard for Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and the Northern Classics but, after a good winter with great training data, I couldn't really express myself, and I couldn't understand why not.

 

"This Giro d'Italia was my big opportunity to make up for it. There are the end-of-season races, of course, but the Giro is the Giro. I've ridden four Giros without winning a stage, and this year, too, victory didn't seem to want to come. One day, the breakaway got away, another day, I got boxed in. As a typical Treviso man, I don't go looking for excuses. I wanted to show that I could win, and it seemed that it was destiny that I should win in Jesolo.

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