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Ciccone and Jungels: young guns take power

Maglia Rosa for the Luxembourger, aged 23

(Sestola, 17 May 2016 – Press Giro d'Italia) Giulio Ciccone, 21, a neo pro with Bardiani CSF, powered to victory in Sestola at the end of an eventful Stage 10 that saw the abandon of one of the overall favourites, Team Sky’s Mikel Landa. The overnight Maglia Rosa Gianluca Brambilla heroically sacrificed his own race lead to help his Etixx – Quick-Step team-mate Bob Jungels, himself just 23, become only the second Luxembourger in history to wear the hallowed jersey, sixty years after Charly Gaul.

Bob Jungels is the second Luxembourger to wear the Maglia Rosa after Charly Gaul, who won the Giro d’Italia in 1956 and 1959. Gaul put his first pink jersey on 60 years ago, at the end of the legendary stage to Monte Bondone in horrendous weather conditions. He was 23 years old, the same as Jungels.

The stage winner, Giulio Ciccone, said in the press conference: “In the pre-race meeting this morning, at least two of us were supposed to make the breakaway, including a climber or two. It turned out even better because there were three of us, two climbers in Stefano Pirazzi and me, plus Nicola Boem, who is a fantastic team player. Towards the end, we outnumbered our rivals, and this was the key to my success. I’m a good climber, maybe not that good downhill but I attacked on the descent and it worked. It was my childhood dream to win a stage at the Giro d’Italia. My first professional stage race (Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia) made me aware of my abilities after I served my apprenticeship in Bergamo, a second home for me after Chieti in Abruzzo, where I grew up."

The new Maglia Rosa, Bob Jungels, said in the press conference: “It was Gianluca Brambilla’s decision to sacrifice himself as he realized that I was stronger than him in the climbs and Andrey Amador was at the front, so it was the best way try to keep the Maglia Rosa. It was a very special decision. In the next stages, I’ll try to follow the best riders and stay in the lead as long as I can. This is one of the best moments of my life. I find it difficult to talk about the future but we came to the Giro with the option for me to ride GC. The pressure hasn’t come from the team but from myself because I’m ambitious. I am wearing leader's jersey mid-race, but I don’t know how far I can go in the high mountains. I have to stay calm now and not dream too big”.

The Maglia Azzurra, Damiano Cunego: “The Maglia Azzurra is my main goal. I rode for it one week ago the day after the rest day but I spent quite a lot of energy chasing the points up for grabs in the KOM competition. Our breakaway lasted a long time…. I have a few regrets because there was tension at the top of the hills and I was not feeling strong enough in the last ten kilometres. It was difficult to make it to the finish line. The next two days won’t be decisive for the Maglia Azzurra but I’ll have to go for breakaways later in the Giro to defend my lead”.

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