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Benjamin Thomas, he who esitates is lost


There is always a second chance. All it takes is the awareness of mind to take it, and that’s exactly what Benjamin Thomas managed to do today. Back in 2022, in the Carcassonne stage of the Tour de France, he was caught by the sprinting peloton with less than 500 metres to go, seeing his dream of winning a stage in his home race crushed.

Less than two years later, here comes a fresh chance in a Grand Tour, not the home one in the strict sense of the word, but that of his adopted home, since he lives in Brescia with his fiancée Martina Alzini, herself a Cofidis athlete. Compared to two years ago, being in a group made the big difference, as on the way to Lucca he was joined Michael Valgren (EF Education-EasyPost), Andrea Pietrobon (Team Polti Kometa) and Enzo Paleni (Groupama-FDJ), with whom he shared the hard work and managed to contain the peloton’s comeback.

Of the trio of stages that were supposed to end in a bunch sprint, today’s seemed the most certain, but that was not the case, confirming the unpredictability of this Giro. Alpecin-Deceuninck made their move on the Passo del Bracco, setting a strong pace to try and challenge the rival sprinters, which they managed, given that riders such as Merlier, Ewan and Gaviria were initially dropped. The problem was that, once the climb was over, Kaden Grove’s team caught up with the early breakaway with 100km to go, just to run out of fuel half-way through the stage, allowing Jakobsen, Merlier and Ewan to rejoin the peloton.

And that’s when Thomas and the other three went clear, quickly gaining that 1’40’’ which would prove lethal for the sprinters’ teams. Just under the red kite marking the last kilometre, Pietrobon, who had cleverly spared himself by skipping a few changes, tried to outfox his fellow adventurers by going long but was caught and skipped cleanly in the last 100 metres. Victory went to Benjamin, a pistard with five world championship victories in Omnium, points race and Madison, and an Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo.

Speaking of the Olympics, the Olympic torch arrived in Paris today and Benjamin will be there in July. A sign of destiny, a Frenchman was supposed to win today.

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