The Austrian surprised the peloton by slipping off the front in the final of stage on of the Giro, but says the sprinters were nothing but magnanimous in defeat
Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) feels that the sprinters, though losing a chance to win the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia and to wear the pink jersey, felt happy for his victory on Friday in Olbia.
Pöstlberger, riding his first Giro at the age of 25, edged off the front of the fast sprinting group with 1.5 kilometres to race. He left in his wake top names Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo).
“I met Caleb, Nizzolo and Greipel, they didn’t see very upset about the sprint,” Pöstlberger said.
“I’m not sorry for them to be honest! They are not angry; it’s cycling, you never know what happens. You can have a plan, but you can’t always stick to it. This day went well for me, and on another day, it’ll be someone else on the front.”
The young Austrian had cheeks as pink as the leader’s jersey that were marked slightly by the kisses from the podium girls. The pressroom translator began and Pöstlberger interrupted.
“No one was angry about it. They gave me congratulations for it, especially, André. He’s a nice guy and he was happy for me.”
Pöstlberger rode on the front for team sprinter Sam Bennett and gained a gap when Luka Mezgec, Orica-Scott lead-out man for Caleb Ewan, appeared to ease off. Bennett radioed over to his team-mate dangling out front:”go, go.”
It was a shock for most followers, especially since most had never heard of him before.
Keen fans may have noticed his fifth place in the E3 Harelbeke this spring when team leader Peter Sagan crashed and had a mechanical. Now, after five hours of racing, a stage win and pink jersey, everyone is trying to pronounce Pöstlberger.
“I know a lot of people, but we are young in the peloton so that’s why they don’t know us. Maybe the general public doesn’t know me, but some of the riders in the group do, maybe not everyone,” he added.
“The achievements weren’t there, but for me it’s nice to be here. I didn’t have opportunities before, I’m happy it came up today.”
He added, “Yeah, I hope so,” when asked if now they will know his name.
His famous team-mate Peter Sagan already sent a message of congratulations. The double world champion tried to secure the new German WorldTour team a big Classics victory this spring, but Pöstlberger gave it the biggest one yet.
“You win as a team and you lose as a team, maybe we have Peter, the most famous cyclist on the earth, but he’s not going on his own, we support him as he supports us.
“Maybe he doesn’t need it at times, but the loss is the team’s and the win is the team’s. There is no one doing his own business in this team, it’s like a cycling family,” added Pöstlberger.
“From Peter you can learn that it’s just cycling, that you won’t die when you do badly, you should have fun and look from the good side.
“There is always something positive you can see, even when it’s raining or snowing. In Romandie when it was snowing and cold, I thought of him, you can actually find some good things!”