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Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com) sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo stormed to an impressive second place on stage two (179km) of the Giro d'Italia, that finished in Novara on Sunday.
The stage was won by Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) with Elia Viviani following Nizzolo home to complete the podium.
A relatively benign ride by the peloton in towards the finish saw key moments in the final 4km well marshaled by the likes of Bert-Jan Lindeman, Max Walscheid and Victor Campenaerts.
In the finale, Merlier opened up his sprint with around 200m to go and impressively managed to hold off the fast-finishing Nizzolo who was just unable to come around him at the line.
Nizzolo's podium place followed up an excellent opening stage individual time trial for the team in which Walscheid finished second.
At the conclusion of stage two Team Qhubeka ASSOS also retain fifth position in the overall team classification.
I think overall that I got the best out of it (the situation), Merlier did a great sprint so I think today the strongest won. Obviously as it was the first stage of the Giro everybody was full of energy so the sprint was quite hectic and I found myself in a good place with 1km to go.
I had a good wheel, I tried to overtake him but obviously it was not enough.
Overall I'm happy and I think that we've started this Giro well; and hopefully we can get a better result in the coming days.
Aart Vierhouten – Sports Director
We should be happy with how he ended up in the final, as we saw a team together at the right points – they were there – and that's already satisfying when you're in the car and see the plan is working.
At the last moment we just missed one guy but Giacomo is smart enough to be in the right spot, on the right wheel. We spoke about Merlier before, we saw that that he's been riding well for the last weeks so I think everything was in place, and in the end Giacomo got beaten.
This is a second place at the Giro d'Italia, at a Grand Tour. He should be happy and we're waiting for more, and it will come. That's for sure.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Team Qhubeka ASSOS.
Jean Smyth (Head of Communications)
Mobile: +27 63 4701 1710 or +31 625 739 033
About Team Qhubeka ASSOS:
Team Qhubeka ASSOS is a purpose-led, high-performance team, fighting to win on the world's biggest stage, to inspire hope and create opportunity. Founded in 2007, Team Qhubeka ASSOS (formerly NTT Pro Cycling) became the first-ever African cycling team to gain a UCI WorldTour license, in 2016.
We achieved our first major win in 2013 when Gerald Ciolek won Milan-San Remo, one of the five Monuments of cycling. We have competed in six Tour de France’s and notched up 7 stage wins, with Mark Cavendish wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey at the 2016 Tour de France.
We are a multicultural, diverse team with bases in South Africa, the Netherlands and Italy. There are 19 nationalities represented across our World Tour and continental feeder team rosters. Our focus on developing African cycling has resulted in more than 55 riders from the African continent be given the opportunity to race on the world stage, since the team's inception.
We race to help people to move forward with bicycles through our relationship with Qhubeka Charity. Through our work with Qhubeka, we have contributed to the distribution of over 30 000 bicycles in communities in South Africa.
Qhubeka is a charity that moves people forward with bicycles. People earn bicycles through our programmes, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs.
A bicycle is a tool that helps people to travel faster and further, and to carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can change lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go.
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