De Clercq prevails on first summit finish (persoonlijk in de top 3 van spannenste Giro etappes dit jaar).
Bart De Clercq announced his arrival on the professional scene with victory in Santuario Di Montevergine on a day where the favourites had to mark each other and did so on the final climb, setting up an intriguing second week of the season’s first Grand Tour.
The Omega Pharma-Lotto Belgian attacked with eight kilometres remaining and benefited from the youthful enthusiasm of a neo-pro to hold on for a memorable win on what was arguably the Giro’s most decisive day in terms of the general classification battle, where the complexion of the overall standings became a little clearer.
Asked if he thought about compatriot Wouter Weylandt – who died following a crash in stage three – during his solo escape before winning this afternoon, De Clercq admitted that he didn’t but was quick to add, “I want to dedicate this win to Wouter and his family; it’s really difficult for them at the moment.”
As the 24-year-old hit two kilometers to go, the gap had blown out to 1:05, the victory certain – or so it seemed. In the final 300 metres Scarponi, Kreuziger, Garzelli and Nibali charged hard at the young rider but he managed to hold on for the win by a very narrow margin.