It didn't take long for sensational Dmytro Grabovskyy
to stamp his authority on the Giro d'Italia Under 26. The much-awaited victory from the Ukrainian superstar of the young gun scene came in the stage two of the Italian race, a 134 km. effort from Maddaloni to San Bartolomeo in Galdo. The reigning world champion finished off the excellent (both chase and leadout) job done by his strong squad Finauto Sport-Team Casini and powered to victory ahead of fellow countryman Volodymyr Zagorodniy (Pagnoncelli-NGC Perrel), with Italy's Davide Bonuccelli (Maltinti Solgomma) coming in 3rd at 04" as best non-Ukrainian, and Thomas Geraint of the British National Team brilliantly riding to a top five finish.
The stage came down to a bunch sprint (well, sort of, as Grabovskyy's late move was so powerful he almost got a solo win) despite the breakaway attempts going through the ride, and in its second. more demanding half in particular. Italians Alex Crippa and Federico Vitali made a significant move around km. 95, but couldn't take more than 35" out of the bunch, that brought them back with about 25k left, near the Valico Casone di Cocca mountain prime, won by the same Thomas Geraint of the U.K. from the same Grabovskyy, with the Colombian Alex Ardila Cano in the other point-awarding spot. An all-Italian quartet consisting of Maurizio Biondo (Concrete-San Marco-Caneva), Claudio Giaccari (Team Lucchini-Gallina), Pier Luigi Senor (Podenzano-Brunero) and Pagnoncelli's former professional rider (that reportedly could make his way back to the professional ranks with Panaria) Antonio Bucciero attacked in the following descent. They were joined by the Russian Sergey Rudaskov (Gavardo Tecmor) first, and by three more guys from the host country - Sergio Laganà (MCS Bedogni), Luca Conati (Zalf-Désirée Fior) and Mattia Parravicini (Unidelta) - later, with half a dozen km. remaining.
Such move turned Biondo into virtual GC leader of the race, but the peloton, driven by the Finauto chasing machine, was up to the challenge, and the eight-strong breakaway group (and the Mexican Saavedra, that briefly joined them) was reeled in - also due to the lack of cooperation among the escapees as well as Biondo’s bike problems - with a couple km. remaining. The Big Grabovskyy kept things under control, even bringing back all wannabe late attackers all by himself, before he finally put in his own show, while first Maglia Rosa holder Devid Garbelli was being caught in a pile-up with half a dozen more athletes. Despite a vain attempt from Zagorodniy, nobody could kept the mighty Ukrainian from writing his name in the Giro d'Italia books.
And even if he wasn't initially that hungry to take part in the Under 26 Corsa Rosa, now he's well-determined to write more pages in this race's books, as he said while chatting with RAI journalists: "I’ve got the Maglia Rosa, and I want too keep all the way to the final stage. I've also got a very strong team beside me, and I’m sure they'll do a great job for me". At the age of 19 (he'll turn 20 in late September) Dmytro has shown that he's got the grinta and determination of a true champion. And - even more significantly - the ambition of a true champion: what else can be said of a guy who, after Friday's excellent second place finish by a slim (04") margin on an ITT course that didn't suit his skills, looked extremely upset instead of being satisfied (the way many others would) with his result? Plus, he sounded as a man who knows well what he wants: "I’m planning of joining the pros (at Quick Step) soon, and ride the Tour de France the next year" Isn’t he going bit too fast? Maybe, but time will tell. What we're definitely being told at the moment is that Dmytro Grabovskyy of Ukraine has got what it takes to be one of the main stars of this sport in years to come.
In ... day to come (Sunday) Grabovskyy will keep himself busy racing the Baby Giro's stage three from Sant'Elena Sannita to Castelpetroso on a distance of 119 kilometres.
Stage 2 (Maddaloni-S.Bartolomeo in Galdo, 134 km): Top 10
1. Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukr - Finauto Sport Team Casini) - 03h21'05"
2. Volodymyr Zagorodniy (Ukr - SC Pagnoncelli-Ngc Perrel) - s.t.
3. Davide Bonuccelli (Ita - Maltinti Solgomma) - at 04"
4. Marco Cattaneo (Ita - SC Pagnoncelli-Ngc Perrel) - at 04"
5. Thomas Geraint (GBR - British National Team) - at 04"
6. Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Den - Danish Nat. Team) - at 04"
7. Dario Cataldo (Ita - MCS Bedogni) - at 04"
8. Kevin Ista (Bel) - at 04"
9. Luca Conati (Ita - Zalf Désirée Fior) - at 04"
10. Pier Luigi Senor (Ita - Podenzano-Brunero) - at 04"
35th Giro d'Italia Under 26: GC after Stage 2 - Top 10 places
35th Giro d'Italia Under 26 - Race Preview
35th Giro d'Italia Under 26 - Stage 1
1. Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukr - Finauto Sport Team Casini) - 03h35'34"
2. Dario Cataldo (Ita - MCS Bedogni) - at 25"
3. Volodymyr Zagorodniy (Ukr - SC Pagnoncelli-Ngc Perrel) - at 28"
4. Devid Garbelli (Ita - Concrete-San Marco-Caneva) - at 29"
5. Luca Zanasca (Ita - Podenzano-Brunero) - at 38"
6. Eugeny Sokolov (Rus - VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 39"
7. Matthew Lloyd (Aus - South Australia-AIS) - at 48"
8. Olexandr Surutkovych (Ukr - Aran-Cantina Tollo) - at 52"
9. Pier Luigi Senor (Ita - Podenzano-Brunero) - at 59"
10. Maciek Bodnar (Pol - Team Fidibc.com) - at 01'04"