Dubai: Bora-Hansgrohe rider Peter Sagan soloed to win as young UAE Team Emirates’ rider Brandon McNulty showed why he is so highly rated while taking second place in Stage 10 at the 103rd Giro d’Italia late on Tuesday.
A former triple world champion, Sagan had not won anything for more than a year now. He, however, proved why he was among the best with a huge performance that saw him make it into the six-rider breakaway before holding off McNulty and overall leader Joao Almeida in Tortoreto late on Tuesday.
Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Almeida retained the Maglia Rosa jersey and continues to lead the general classification even as McNulty climbed a few places into 13th overall.
After Mikkel Berg’s third place on Sunday, Monday’s rest seemed to have helped the 22-year-old American all-rounder McNulty as he challenged Sagan on the treacherous 10th stage – a 177 km ride from Lanciano to Tortoreto.
And with the final made particularly tough with five selective climbs before 9 kms of flatland towards the finish, it was Sagan’s superior experience that came through as his challengers fell behind with 12 km left to the finish.
On the finishing straight and with just 3km left, McNulty broke from the group, gaining a few hundred metres that allowed him to get the second place, just 19 seconds from Stage winner Sagan and 4 seconds clear of pink jersey wearer Almeida.
“I got a puncture on one of the steep climbs and I had a long chase back on. It was a reduced group and no one had a teammate so I knew that if I could get a jump on the group then I could stay clear and that’s exactly what happened,” McNulty related later.
“I knew I was close to Sagan and the stage win would have been nice. But a second place on such a tough stage is incredible as well,” he added.
“Every day is possibly the last day here, so everyone is all-in everyday. We hope to continue, but safety is the most important thing for all the riders and also all of Italy,” he stressed.
Stage 10 Results: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:01.56; 2. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +19”; 3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +23”.
General Classification after 10th Stage: 1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 39:38.05; 2. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +34”; 3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +43”; 13. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +2’39”.