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Jan Polanc wins stage aboard the new Scultura


Jan Polanc wins stage aboard the new Scultura

The first week of the Giro d’Italia did not begin as wished for TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA. But by winning the first mountaintop finish, young Slovene Jan Polanc compensated for all these problems and gave MERIDA’s new SCULTURA (details here) a perfect debut.

As the last WorldTour team with an Italian license, TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA is contesting the Giro d’Italia with a lot of ambitions. But within the first four days some of these goals had to be revised already: The team never got up to speed in the initial team time trial, and at the first bunch sprint in Genoa Sacha Modolo needed all of his skills to avoid a nasty crash after a questionable maneuver of a rival sprinter. With Manuele Mori, Diego Ulissi and Tsgabu Grmay, riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green made it into the main escape moves on the next two days. But their hard work was not to rewarded and and they could not contest for the stage win in the respective finale. To make matters worse, the team’s captain for the overall standings Przemyslaw Niemiec lost more than two minutes to most other overall contenders in stage four.

To make matter short: Throughout the first four stages of the Giro d’Italia TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA was investing a lot but lacked the luck to get a reward. But this was no reason for the riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green to give in. In the early phases of the 5th stage another rider of the team made it into the group of the day. This group consisted of five riders and got a maximum advantage of eleven minutes. But they already lost three minutes on the approach to the final ascent to Abetone which stretched over a distance of 17 kilometers. And once they hit the climb their advantage was shrinking kilometer by kilometer. With 12 kilometers to go the experienced Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel was the first rider to attack. Jan Polanc kept a cool head and granted himself the necessary time to close the gap, and the 23 year-old Slovene managed to counter the next attack as well.

With 10.4 kilometers left to the top of the Abetone, Jan Polanc accelerated hard aboard MERIDA’s new SCULTURA, a new road bike platform that only had been presented a couple of days earlier. And his attack stuck, as he managed to distance his companions right away and to keep a cool head after doing so. Polanc chose to ride at his own pace, did not forget to eat one last gel and continued to extend his lead to his breakaway companions from there. The low weight, the significantly improved aerodynamics and the increased vertical compliance of MERIDA’s new SCULTURA were welcome factors on the way to the finish. The fact that the big names only started attacking each other late on the ascent also was in Polanc’s favor. With his stage win atop Abetone Jan Polanc put an end to the difficult first four days of the Giro d’Italia and impressively showed that the new SCULTURA is a born winner.

98th Giro d’Italia

Stage 5, La Spezia - Abetone: 152km

1. Jan Polanc, SVN/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, in 4:09.18 hours
2. Sylvain Chavanel, FRA, + 1.31
3. Fabio Aru, ITA, st
4. Alberto Contador, ESP, st
5. Richie Porte, AUS, st