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Bitter Ending of a Superb Week at Giro Next Gen



The Giro Next Gen was the main goal of the season for the Tudor Development team. The team was built around French climber Mathys Rondel and had the goal to compete for a podium spot in the General Classification. After fighting for the win the whole week, it all came down to the last 70 meters of the 1,013.8km route. 


18.06.2024


Going back to the start of the race, the opening time trial was a great start for the team, as the U23 Swiss Swiss Time Trial Champion Fabian Weiss recorded the 3rd best time on the technical course. Lithuanian Aivaras Mikutis finished 13th, while Mathys showed a good race and didn’t lose much time compared to the GC contenders (finished 17th, 7” behind Jarno Widar, eventual winner of the race). 



From there on, the focus moved fully towards GC, with Stage 2 being a rather calm day suiting sprinters ahead of the first hard day on Stage 3. The plan was clear: make the race as hard as possible until the last 20 km climb heading to Pian della Mussa. While Roman, Aivaras and Arnaud did their job in the first half of the race, Fabian led the bunch into the last climb with 20 km to go, pacing alone for 1 2km before “passing the baton” to Robin for the last 8km. At 4km, a first attack of Jarno Widar was followed by Mathys, while the second one in the last kilometer saw the Belgian take advantage and go for his first win, with Mathys finishing 3rd and losing 21 seconds to the winner. The first battle for the Maglia Rosa was lost, but Mathys was finally confident about his legs after the first couple of days not feeling at his best. 


The next two stages were supposed to be recovery days for the team, committed to keep Mathys out of danger for the GC in the two sprints but Stage 4 included a nasty crash of the French in the finale, luckily without major consequences. 


Back in the mountains, Stage 6 saw the second battle for the pink jersey. Once again, the team was 100% committed to one goal: making up spots in GC by pacing hard on the climbs to create a selection and place Robin in the breakaway in the second part of the race, and “leading out” Mathys in the best position for the last climb heading to Fosse. The plan was perfectly executed and once Mathys was alone, he increased the rhythm, reducing the front group one by one till only five riders were left. Once again, a punchy attack of Widar created a gap and this time Mathys finished 4th, 14” behind the pink jersey and 13” behind the two direct competitors (Martì and Torres).  





After Stage 7 was awarded to the breakaway, Mathys’ position ahead of the last stage was 3rd, at  the exact same time (same hours, minutes, seconds and hundredths) as the 4th, Pau Martì. 

At this point, by rule, “in the event of a draw in the general classification the first discriminating criteria is given by the hundredths recorded in the individual time trial stages”, which led to the second criteria: “the lower sum of the placings obtained in each stage”. After 7 stages, Mathys’s placings added up at 203 and Pau’s at 205. This meant, that in the last stage, Mathys could be behind Pau by only one position.  


The day after, Mathys crossed the line in 25th position, while Pau finished 20th, resulting in a lower sum of the placings than Mathys’. 



Mathys lost the GC podium at Giro Next Gen in the last 70 meters of the last day. Frustration was the first feeling: “I am disappointed with this 4th place, as we came here to win. The race for third was drawn before the last stage t. It was the last sprint deciding the battle.” Mathys explained: “Overall, Widar was just too strong this week and at the same time I made some mistakes. For sure I will take this race as an experience, and I will take some time to analyze all stages and see with the team what to correct.” 


If I didn’t win now to win something bigger in the future, it will be worth it.

The mindset of a professional athlete moves fast to the next goals: “My goal is to win the biggest races in the world. Of course, winning these races is part of the process, but if I didn’t win now to win something bigger in the future, it will be worth it.” 


Despite the disappointment, what the young team did was remarkable. Head of Development Boris Zimine cannot be anything but happy about the performance: “The team was exceptional, the perfect example of what we aim for: Development. All of them were 100% committed to the goal, physically strong and there for each other. This race was the confirmation that most of them are ready to take the step to the pros. We admit that the final result is a disappointment, but that’s part of cycling and life. This is a great lesson for the long-term process, especially for Mathys.” 



The GC podium vanished into thin air in the last 70 meters of 1,013.8 kms. But not only. The GC podium probably also vanished because of other factors: a smoother turn in the opening time trial, a better placing in a sprint finish, one push more in a mountain finish, one push less in the climb to save the legs for the final effort, a crash which changed the plans or any other detail. This lost podium will always be a lesson for everyone to come out stronger from this race. 

 


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