"I was part of an initial break that formed after only 10 kilometers. But by the time we reached the top of the second category climb to Andrate, after 27 km, we were caught by a selected group of riders, including the leader", says Jesus Ezquerra, who came to realize yesterday that the level of the race and the competition required valiant thinking. "On the descent Alex and me went in a new break, of 22 riders this time."
The break went really hard and once the race hit the bottom of the last climb to the finish town of Tavagnasco, Alex Kirsch and two other riders tried their luck. "They started the climb with about two minutes advantage to the leaders, but it didn't last. The stage was won by last year's overall winner, Fabio Aru."
"This race is really hard for us. My legs feel dead tired", says Ezquerra, echoing Adriano Baffi: "We need to try our luck with going into breakaways. The general level here is roughly higher than ours, so we need to think out of the box."
"This race is very unhabitual for the U23 category. They don't even have these kind of climbing in the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia. The Mortirolo is nothing compared to the last climb today: 9km with 15 percent average", continues Baffi. "You always see the same riders at the front: the Italian ones, who are used to these steep climbs. For our level, the guys did great and I'm proud of them."