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Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com) sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo took yet another second place Giro d'Italia stage finish after being pipped on the line by Caleb Ewan on the stage five in Cattolica.
The European and Italian champion also placed second on stage two of the race, and so today's result sees him take the lead in the points classification and so he will don the maglia ciclamino on Thursday in stage six.
After a fairly quiet opening 150km of the race day the very technical final 7km, as predicted, required excellent teamwork in order to position Nizzolo in the final kilometre. The Italian saw his opportunity and surged clear on the left-hand side, only to be beaten just on the line by the man from Lotto-Soudal.
That result was the 11th career second-place stage finish for Nizzolo on a stage at the race, where he also won the points classification in 2015 and 2016.
The rest of the team also safely navigated themselves home with Domenico Pozzovivo finishing the day in 18th position overall on the general classification.
Today the final was quite technical and I think I did a good sprint but yet again came up again against somebody just stronger than me on the day, hopefully the victory will come the next time.
As a team we did great today, we had a good plan, and we tried to make it happen. In the finale I asked the guys just to stay around me as I knew that in the corners I could take care of myself and everybody did exactly what I asked. I'm really proud of them and with this attitude we can really look forward to the next sprint. This sort of result speaks to the teamwork in our camp and the great spirit we have in wanting to fight for one another.
I want to thank all of the fans of the team for their support. I really hope to give them a stage victory the next time.
Hendrik Redant – Sports Director
The boys have had a great spirit and working really hard. It was weird to see that after 150km of straight line racing we had a very hectic final from the town of Rimini but they did everything was said this morning in the meeting: being in front, taking the roundabouts the way that we wanted them to do….they really did a great job.
At 4.5km to go there was a really tricky point where it was very dangerous but there everybody was still in a good position. And then Nizzolo took a really good decision in taking the wheel of Tim Merlier who was still very fast and strong and then he had a problem. In the end Caleb was really fast and beats us on the line, and it's a well deserved victory for him, no regrets about that. We were close and hopefully next time we can take the next step.
The riders took a huge confidence boost from today. When I spoke to them afterwards I thanked them for following the instructions and their commitment to our team, this gives a big boost to us all. Seeing Giacomo there means all of that hard work is not for nothing and he gets the points jersey, so they can be proud.
We now look forward to the opportunities still to come!
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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