Updated on 2021-05-24 11:38:22
Victor Campenaerts took an incredible 3rd stage win at this year's Giro d'Italia for the Qhubeka ASSOS team on stage 15, which ended in Gorizia. The win follows triumphs by his teammates, Mauro Schmid and Giacomo Nizzolo, on stages 11 and 13 respectively.
The Qhubeka ASSOS team, which has already achieved the best Giro d'Italia in its history, started the 147-kilometer stage 15 with the clear intention of continuing to chase success. From the start, Campenaerts and teammate Max Walscheid were the first two riders to attack. After getting an initial gap, the race was neutralized due to a massive crash in the peloton, including Mauro Schmid, who was able to continue but suffered multiple wounds on his right side.
This was the first time the race had been cancelled
Thankfully, most of the riders who crashed were not seriously injured and were able to continue. When the race resumed for the second time, it was again Campenaerts and Walscheid who were the first to attack. But this time, a third Qhubeka ASSOS rider was also involved, as Lukasz Wisniowski broke into the lead group.
15 riders broke away from the peloton and quickly built a lead for the race. With three riders in the lead, Qhubeka ASSOS was in a favorable position.
As the race's finale approached, Walscheid, Wisniowski and Campenaerts began to attack and counterattack the break, as the group contained a strong mix of climbers and sprinters, who may have been favored for the win ahead of the Qhubeka ASSOS trio on paper. However, it was teamwork that proved to be the best asset of the day, as the Belgian UCI hour record holder managed to break away with two other riders, Albert Torres (Movistar) and Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), with 23km to go.
Campenaerts and Riesebeek managed to dislodge Torres on the final climb as the rain poured down, adding more drama in the final kilometers. At the top of the climb, the duo maintained a 15-second gap on their closest pursuers, and despite a few mutual attacks, they decided the stage in a two-man sprint.
Campenaerts had that extra boost in the legs to take a brilliant victory, his first ever Grand Tour stage win in his career.