After Sunday’s 9th stage, the 2020 Giro d’Italia is nearly at the halfway point and yet the race is already proving to be one for the Axeon record books. Following João Almeida’s (Deceuninck - Quick Step) seven day string in the maglia rosa leader’s jersey and Alex Dowsett’s (Israel Start-Up Nation) victory on stage 8, Ruben Guerriero (EF Education First Pro Cycling) added to the strong alumni showing with a win on stage 9 in Roccaraso, Italy.
If Guerriero’s win was not enough, recent graduate Mikkel Bjerg finished third (his first non time trial World Tour podium) on the day and Tao Geoghegan Hart finished sixth. The top 25 was composed of five Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team alumni.
Having wasted no time at the start of this year’s Giro, Axeon alumni flooded the top 10 on the first stage’s individual time trial. Almeida and Bjerg finished second and third respectively, while Lawson Craddock (EF Education First Pro Cycling) was eighth.
“The riders have always given me the strength and desire to continue the path we started 12 years ago,” said team owner and director Axel Merckx. “Seeing our alumni shine so bright in the Giro gives me the hope and reassurance that we created something beyond a team. The true happiness they have for each other when they achieve is very special. They made this program from day one and I hope we will be able to continue this legacy for many years to come.”
Guerriero’s victory was his first in the World Tour after coming very close in 2019 on stage 15 at the La Vuelta ciclista a España. After Monday’s rest day, the 26-year-old will start stage 10 wearing the Giro’s blue “king of the mountain’s” jersey.
This year’s race started five months after originally scheduled due to covid19. Eleven stages remain until the final stage in Milan.