MAY – JUNE – An impressive harvest
Just like the previous year, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert left its footprints at the Giro d’Italia, on the occasion of its second participation. From the Grande Partenza in Hungary, Biniam Girmay affronted Mathieu van der Poel in a duel for the stage win. The Eritrean rider conquered the white young rider’s jersey and then also wore the cyclamen points jersey thanks to five top 5 finishes in the eight first bunch stages.
At the end of the tenth stage in Jesi, he rewarded the team strategy and made a dream come true for Eritrea by becoming the first black African to win a Grand Tour stage. After a lead out of Domenico Pozzovivo and an incredible sprint of 300 meter, he preceded Mathieu van der Poel in another thrilling duel.
Despite the unfortunate withdrawal of Girmay, the team continued to shine with podiums for Lorenzo Rota and Rein Taaramäe and especially a second victory thanks to Jan Hirt, who won the queen stage in the Alps featuring the mythical Passo del Mortirolo. For the first time in its history, the Walloon team was represented in the top ten of the final classification of a Grand Tour, with Jan Hirt in sixth place and Domenico Pozzovivo in eighth place.
At the same time, the team harvested success on several fronts. Gerben Thijssen reached a personal milestone by taking his first professional victory in the Dunkirk Four Day, Alexander Kristoff won at home in Stavanger in the closing stage of the Tour of Norway and Andrea Pasqualon won the Circuit de Wallonie on the home soil of numerous team sponsors.
The series of victories continued in June with the win of Louis Meintjes in the Giro dell’Appennino, his first success in seven years and together on the podium with Georg Zimmermann. Three days later, Taco Van der Hoorn won the Brussels Cycling Classic at the end of a memorable breakaway of which only he has the secret. The team in the Belgium Tour carried out the plan of the sports direction in the queen stage to perfection, resulting in the first professional victory of Quinten Hermans in Durbuy.
In the Critérium du Dauphiné, Hugo Page revealed himself at the highest level by finishing three times among the five fastest riders in the peloton, wearing the green points jersey for one day. Climbers Meintjes and Pozzovivo finished sixth in the Dauphiné and ninth in the Tour de Suisse respectively.
At the end of June, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert established a new record at the national championships with time trial titles for Girmay (Eritrea) and Taaramäe (Estonia), and five other medals for Alexander Kristoff Barnabás Peák, Lorenzo Rota and Taco van der Hoorn.