The Colombian National Team demonstrated their strength in depth as Einer Rubio won the Baby Giro’s second high mountain stage, at Folga di Dimaro. The race had started in wet conditions in Darfo Boario Terme, a contrast to the previous day’s 32’C sunshine, and the rain continued for the first half of the race.
Rubio’s teammate Cristian Munoz escaped a 17 man breakaway on the Passo del Tonale (1883m asl, 6.3% ave), building a lead of 2 minutes over the remaining 16 riders in the breakaway group, and 2:30 over the peloton.
It looked as if he might survive to the finish, but on the long, technical and fast descent to Dimaro Folgarida at the foot of the climb to Folga di Dimaro, Munoz’s advantage was cut to little over 20 seconds by the remains of the bunch, his breakaway companions having been absorbed further back. Rubio, Nikolay Cherkasov (Russia National Team) and Yuriy Natarov (Team Astana City) launched themselves in pursuit of Munoz on the lower slopes of the final climb, catching him near the 5km to go banner.
The four rode together for a short period, but as the gradient steepened and the road narrowed, Rubio pushed on hard, leaving the rest in his wake. Chasing from behind was Stevie Williams (SEG Racing Academy), whose controlled approach saw him pass all but Rubio in the final 5km, eventually finishing 13 seconds behind the Colombian and taking the race leader’s pink jersey.
Speaking after the stage, Williams unsurprisingly said that the team plan to defend the jersey in the coming days. Tomorrow’s stage 6 should prove little obstacle for the strong SEG Racing Academy outfit, with two category three climbs and a flat finish in Pergine Valsugana, but the following two days in the mountains will test their ability to the maximum.
Full stage 5 results via procyclingstats.com