The Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team’s Leo Hayter put in the performance of his career on the Giro d’Italia Giovanni’s “queen stage” bowing in the maglia rosa leader’s jersey as he crossed the line, nearly five minutes ahead of his closest competitor.
“It was a super hard day with a neutral uphill to Campo Carlo Magno,” said sport director Koos Moerenhout describing the day. “Then came the climbs up Passo del Tonale, Aprica, Passo di Guspessa (Mortirolo), and finally the finish in Santa Caterina Valfurva. 180 km of racing and an epic day from start to finish. The team controlled in a strong way. Once up the Guspessa, the race exploded. Leo was put on the defensive by the FDJ riders. He fought back and rode an incredible race till the finish.”
The solo attack by Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) sent everything into motion. Martinez crossed the KOM at Guspessa 2’10” ahead of the chasers, including Leo. But on the descent, Leo caught Martinez, accelerated, and never looked back.
“The stage became a real sufferfest,” said Moerenhout. “But even still, it has been a fantastic start for the team. Now, a bit of a cliche, but we’ll take it day by day.”
Leo increased his lead in the GC to 5’48” over Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ Conti) who sits in 2nd place.
Four days remain, with the final stage ending in Pinerolo on June 18th.
Leo Hayter photo via Giro d’Italia Giovanni U23