Foligno, 16 May 2014 - The young French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.FR), 23, squeezed through the ranks of his rivals to take his second stage win in the 97th Giro d’Italia today, in the central Italian town of Foligno. Bouhanni beat Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) by half a wheel, while Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec (Giant Shimano) came in third.
Another 23 year old, the race leader Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge), finished 4th in the stage, thereby retaining the Maglia Rosa and the lead in the mountains classification and in the young riders competition for those born on or after 1 January 1989.
Maglia Rosa – Balocco: Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge)
Maglia Rossa – Algida: Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.FR
Maglia Bianca – F.lli Orsero: Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge)
Maglia Azzurra – Banca Mediolanum: Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge)
After the stage finish, Bouhanni and Matthews spoke to the press:
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.FR)
The sprint: “I wanted to start my sprint as we came out of the bend, but I was on the right hand side and Matthews and NIzzolo closed the door to my left. I had to go right, saw a little gap, and managed to make my way through.”
The Maglia Rosa: “I took a point for 5th place in the intermediate sprint today, so in the mountain stages tomorrow and the day after, I’ll go for the intermediate sprints and keep the jersey as long as I possibly can.”
Comparisons with Kittel and Cavendish: “Kittel and Cavendish are great sprinters. I’m only 23, and my goal is always to improve, not just from season to season, but every time I go out training. I try to learn from my mistakes, and I try never to make the same one twice. But I don’t think I can be compared with Kittel and Cavendish: their careers are very different from mine.”
Self-psyching for the sprint stages: “Well, I’m a big Mike Tyson fan, so sometimes I watch old videos of his fights.”
Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge)
Last day in Maglia Rosa: “I haven’t really looked in detail at tomorrow’s stage, but we really knew this would be the last day, if we could keep [the Maglia Rosa] to this point. It’s going to be pretty sad to lose it tomorrow. I’ll definitely be trying my best to keep it. It’ll be unfortunate, but realistically there’s not much you can do about it. It’s been an amazing week for the team, winning the team time trial on Friday, then the stage at Montecassino, and wearing the Maglia Rosa. We couldn’t ask much more for ourselves.”
The sprint finish: “It was pretty technical and there was a lot of fighting. Coming into the final, I was one or two spots too far back with that type of finish. After yesterday’s efforts, I wasn’t at 100%. It was more about switching on today and keeping the Maglia Rosa. A top 3 would have been great, and to get the win would have been amazing, but I didn’t quite have the legs.”
Cadel Evans: “I think he’s going well enough to take the Maglia Rosa tomorrow. It’s going to be a long Giro for the GC riders: there’s a lot of hard stages coming up. If he can wait a few days, it might be better. He has a really strong team who can put him in the right position before the climbs, and he has team-mates who can help him there, too. He’s a great guy and it would be good to see him on the podium, whether or not he wins the Maglia Rosa, at the end of these three weeks.”