Groundhog Day for Derek Gee on stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia. Another long breakaway, another second place and, for good measure, another EF Education-EasyPost rider beating him to the line in Viareggio.
There was, however, considerable difference in the detail. In Fossombrone on Saturday, Ben Healy was already well out of sight by the time Gee took out the sprint for a second place that felt almost like a victory. Losing out to Magnus Cort in the three-up sprint here, on the other hand, had a harsher taste, even if the Dane’s finishing speed brooked little argument.
“This one hurt a little more, just because you can see the win right there,” Gee said after wheeling to a halt beyond the finish line on Viale Carducci, having spent 184km off the front with Cort and Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-Alula).
“I’m guessing De Marchi and I both knew that Cort was too fast, but with 35k to go, it was touch and go for a bit that we’d even stay out in front. I’m pretty surprised we stayed away, because I thought for a lot of kilometres we’d be caught. And at the start, when there were only four of us in the break, I thought there was no shot.”
The Ottawan had already stayed off the front for just shy of 200km on stage 8. Now, with his Israel Premier Tech leader Domenico Pozzovivo forced out of the race by COVID-19 overnight, he was given the freedom to try his hand at infiltrating the early break all over again. The rugged early terrain, which included the Passo delle Radici, gave the escapees a fighting chance of staying clear, even if the flat and fast run-in to the coastal town of Viareggio seemed to tip the balance in favour of the sprinters.
“It was kind of miserable at the start,” Gee said. “With Domenico, unfortunately, dropping out, we had no GC guy anymore, so that plan was always to get in the break. I can’t really believe it made it to the finish again, I didn’t believe that would happen again. It’s cool to make it to the finish, but it’s frustrating as well to get second twice, even if it’s still pretty special to be in the break with guys of that calibre.”
The Canadian time trial champion is in his first season as a professional, having focused primarily on the track ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, where he lined out in the team pursuit. Although Israel Premier Tech were relegated to Pro Continental level last year, Gee has competed exclusively in WorldTour events in his first full campaign at the team, having made some…
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