Villa di Villa, Italy – Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team's Will Barta and Logan Owen were part of breakaways Monday at Giro del Belvedere before teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart finished eighth.
Thirteen riders came to the line together at the end of the 166.6-kilometer race. Swiss Under 23 national road champion Patrick Müller (BMC Development Team) out-sprinted Nicola Bagioli (Zalf Euromobil Desiree Fior) and Josip Rumac (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) to take the win.
In addition to Geoghegan Hart's fifth top 10 result of the season, Owen finished 12th. Barta was 39th and Latvian Under 23 national road champion Krists Neilands was 57t, with both finishing 70 seconds after the leading group.
Barta was part of a five-man escape that was later joined by Owen and 10 others. They shook free on the third of 11 laps of a 12-kilometer circuit that preceded a separate finishing circuit. With two laps to go before the race reached two laps of a shorter, more challenging circuit, Owen and four others slipped their fellow breakaway companions.
"We stayed away until just over the top of the steep climb on the final finishing circuit," he said. "A small group of about eight or so that included Tao caught us as we hit the descent. My legs were still feeling good enough to sprint, so I thought I would have enough for the win. There was a small attack with a kilometer to go and when I stood up to follow Tao – who was going to lead me out in a couple hundred meters – I started cramping. I tried to tell him what was happening but in a finale like that it was too late."
Axeon Hagens Berman General Manager Axel Merckx said the team rode well all day long in the first of two one-day races in Italy this week.
"We were always there in every break," he said. "The only missed opportunity was maybe toward the end when Logan thought he had really good legs for the sprint and then realized when he started to sprint, he did not quite have the legs that he was thinking he had. Other than that, the game plan was good."