Arturo Grávalos, a very outstanding performance in the hardest stage of the ‘sterrato’
42º Giro d´Italia Giovani Under 23
Stage 3: Sesto Fiorentino – Gaiole in Chianti (145,5 km)
Five sections of unpaved roads, the famous strade bianche of Tuscany, emerged this Sunday as the great challenge for the platoon of a Giro Baby that experienced a small revolution in the general, with the rise to leadership (after winning the stage, alone) of the Italian Fabio Mazzucco (Sangemini). And on the sterrato, a great performance of the Kometa Cycling Team under 23, with the riojano Arturo Grávalos running at the forefront of the day and finishing in eighteenth place, 1:11 from the winner and new pink maglia of the race.
“I wanted to make up for the two days of crashes I’ve been through, I wanted to see myself ahead in the race. I enjoyed it like a child and I arrived with my hair on end, although I wasn’t very clear in which position I finished”, explains a Grávalos who sums up his adventures in this way: “I tried it on a climb and we ended up leaving around twenty riders. In front of us we had ten cyclists escaping. When the sterrato arrived, the whole escape was broken. That was every man for himself. I crowned the hard climb well, among ten other cyclists, but on the descent we were caught again. Eight from the finish we reached the leading group. I tried to get into the sprint, but they closed me down a bit and I didn’t have much of a margin”.
The particularities of this third stage in line with the Giro presented the day as a survival exercise where the most important thing was to limit time losses and misfortunes. In that sense the stage was passed with a note. Carlos García arrived at 4:29, in 44th position. Sergio García finished at 6:05, 56th, arriving alone and fighting to minimise the time given up after suffering an unfortunate puncture when he was completing a brilliant first leg.
“At the end of that first sector I suffered a puncture in the front wheel when in the main group we were about twenty cyclists. I continued until I was able to change the wheel and after that I just had to get back on the bike. It’s an impressive rage when you see that you have legs to fight with the first ones, but I’ve also enjoyed it. I ended up getting nowhere in the main group,” explains the Spaniard. “I’ve never done this type of surface with the road bike before, but having done mountain biking I also have a technique that gives me more security and confidence”.
Edu Pérez-Landaluce and Jhon Stiven Ramírez finished a little further back, at 6:31, in the 59th and 61st positions. It was a spectacular stage. It was a very fast start and in the middle of the stage there was a leak that Arturo was able to catch. When we got to sterrato the race became a survival exercise. I was lucky that we didn’t have any breakdowns or falls and I was able to arrive in a small group with Jhon. There’s practically the whole Giro left and from this Monday the race changes completely”, commented the Asturian. The cyclist from Oviedo is not mistaken, as the fourth stage hosts the first high final of the Giro Baby 2019: 140 kilometres of rugged Tuscan orography that will have their finish line at Monte Amiata, at 1,653 metres above sea level.
Rafa Díaz Justo, director of the Kometa Cycling Team: “Except for Sergio’s mishap, a pity because he was riding very well in the main group, the day has been quite good. We were fortunate that Arturo represented us in a very important breakaway. And then Carlos showed that he is in an impressive moment of form, because he was in the good group. Sergio was with Carlos and it was a shame, it took us almost four minutes to change the wheel. In spite of that, for how complicated this day was, I think we started very well. On balance, we saved well these first four days. On Monday, the first final, the Alto, the first important stage, arrives and we hope to be able to be there”.
Carlos García, 49th at 5:08, is now the first ‘kometa’ in a general classification where Arturo Grávalos has made a great leap to reach 53rd at 6:33. Sergio García is 55th at 6:35. Edu Pérez-Landaluce, 58th, at 7:14. Jhon Stiven Ramírez, 69th, at 8:58.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)
📸 Andrew Peat