Tom Pidcock has tightened his grip on the pink jersey at the under-23 Giro d’Italia, winning a second stage and extending his overall lead on the penultimate day.
The rising British star is on course to win the prestigious eight-stage event for prospects, having taken control with a stage victory on stage four.
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Pidcock, 21, stepped up again on stage seven from Barzio to Montespluga, winning solo after launching his attack on the steep final climb.
The 116km stage featured an easier climb early in the stage with a pan flat middle section, before the road turned skyward around 30km from the line.
Racing was tough from the start as 38 riders went clear early on the stage, which then became as 12-rider breakaway later in the day.
The break had a 3-40 advantage when the climb to Montespluga began, but the gap began to tumble on the climb with Pidcock setting the pace in the main group with 8km to the line.
Pidcock then attacked and was soon leading the race alone, and with 3km to the line he had a 30-second advantage, enough to reach the mountain summit solo for the second time this year.
His team-mate 18-year-old Thomas Gloag also put in an outstanding performance, finishing fourth on the stage in his first ever U23 stage race.
There is just one stage left in the Baby Giro and it’s a tough one – 120.9km starting and finishing in Aprica, with four categorised climbs, including the dreaded Passo del Mortirolo, which peaks 88km into the stage.
Trinity Racing rider Pidcock has been continuing his development as a multi-discipline rider in 2020, taking a podium in the cyclocross World Cup in Switzerland in February, then moving onto the mountain bike after the coronavirus lockdown and now returning to road.
Last month he split his efforts in the European Championships, finishing fourth in the under-23 time trial in Plouay but then stepping up to the elite men’s team for the road race.
The Giro Ciclistico d’Italia, also known as the Baby Giro, is a prestigious race for under-23 riders with a list of winners who have gone on to be successful pros at WorldTour level.
Last year it was won by UAE Team Emirates rider Andres Camilo Ardila, while previous editions have also been won by Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) and Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates).