See all
See all

Pelayo Sánchez, head and heart in the dust


A Spanish rider had not won on the Giro d’Italia since 2019, and Movistar had not made its mark on the Corsa Rosa since the same year. Today, Pelayo Sánchez broke both taboos, taking the luxury of putting his wheel ahead of Julian Alaphilippe, who hasn’t won in a year, at the finish in Rapolano Terme.

Admittedly, the two-time world champion is not the rider who won the Strade Bianche in 2019, but his grit, will and vision are still the same and beating him today, on roads he knows well, was no easy feat. Almost the entire peloton was willing to go on the attack and it took almost 100km before the break of the day formed, by which time the fatigue was so severe that seven riders were given the green light due to exhaustion.

Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Andrea Vendrame (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Pelayo Sanchez (Movistar), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep), Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla), Matteo Trentin (Tudor) and Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) were the survivors of the first 100km of fire and flames, but even once they had escaped, they still had to sweat to keep the gap on the peloton. In the gravel sections, in fact, the bunch kept on pushing, almost catching them one after the other.

Plapp, who was virtual Maglia Rosa for a while, accelerated up the Bagnaia climb, escaping from the main breakaway along with Alaphilippe and Plapp. Exhausted and drained from 160km of battles, the three went on by inertia, and Sanchez threatened to blow it all as he misjudged his trajectory coming out of a roundabout, fooling Alaphilippe as well.

On the Serre di Rapolano climb, the trio managed to keep their gap on the sprinting peloton, where Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich PostNL) had tried to place an attack. They made it, and at that point it all came down to a three-man sprint: Plapp hit the front first before Alaphilippe opened up his sprint with around 200m to go, just before Sanchez turned on the speed to come around the outside and take an unforgettable victory.

Follow us

top sponsor