Toms Skujinš has been one of the most aggressive riders at the Giro d’Italia through 12 days of the race, and the Latvian only confirmed his form with his latest breakaway excursion during the race across Piemonte to Rivoli on Thursday.
The 185km stage was the final day before the race pivots towards the end game with the Alps and the summit finish of Crans-Montana on Friday, and, after breakaway rides on stages 4 and 8, he was back out front among a group of 30.
It was one thing to make the break, and then another to contest the win 165km later, but Skujinš was there, among the strongest of a powerful move that went clear in the hilly early kilometres.
However, as was the case at Lago Laceno and Fossombrone, the Latvian wouldn’t come away with the win, even if his second place in the sprint behind Nico Denz saw him closer than ever.
“Three out of three. Third, seventh, second,” Skujinš recounted to Cyclingnews at the Trek-Segafredo team bus after the stage. “Those were three days where I was going for it, three days I managed to actually get in the break.
“That’s a nice feeling, but I’ve actually got to win one sometime. Then it’s going to be a better feeling, I think.”
Past Giro stage winners Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Lorenzo Fortunato, Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost), and Skujinš’ own teammate Bauke Mollema made the move, as did Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).
Trek-Segafredo’s first mission of the day – delivering Mads Pedersen to 12 points at the intermediate sprint – came off without a hitch. Next up was for Skujinš or Mollema to make the difference for a second stage win of the race.
The likely showdown of the top climbers on the late second-category Colle Braida wouldn’t come to pass, however, as the large move fractured with still 92km left to run as a lack of collaboration took hold.
Skujinš made it off the front as the rain fell on the flatlands south of Turin in the middle of the stage, the Latvian joined in the attack by Denz, Seb Berwick (Israel-Premier Tech), Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), plus an ill Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), who quickly dropped away.
The remaining quartet quickly built a minute’s lead in just 10km, a gap which ballooned up to three on the road to the final climb. It was clear that the breakaway from the breakaway would contest the stage victory in Rivoli.
“I think we’ve seen it lately more and more that big moves go, and when big moves go then everyone is so close in…
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