Team Bahrain-Merida conquers historic podium and a stage win with Vincenzo Nibali, impressive performance by all the Rudy Project teams.
The 100th Giro d’Italia marked a successful beginning to the grand tour season for Rudy Project, crafters of Italian-made performance eyewear and helmets. Team Bahrain Merida conquered the Giro d’Italia podium in its first ever grand tour with Vincenzo Nibali taking 3rd overall. Team Trek Segafredo notched the top 10 in GC with rider Bauke Mollema who reached the 7th place overall and Team CCC Sprandi Polkowice was one of the most combative teams on the Italian roads. Team Bahrain-Merida rode the punishing 21 stage, 2,243-mile race up legendary climbs in mountain passes and down infamous descents to the Giro d’Italia podium, staying cool and protected thanks to Rudy Project’s helmets and eyewear. The team wore Rudy Project’s new RaceMaster helmet for most of the race, trading the sleek road helmet’s iconic Italian styling for the newly unveiled Boost 01 Pro and aerodynamic Wing57 TT helmet for time trial sections, with all three helmets resplendent in the eye-catching Gold Velvet colorway. The team’s choice eyewear was the Tralyx XL, Rudy Project’s award-winning performance sunglass, featuring Power Flow ventilation and ImpactX-2 Photochromic lenses to prevent fogging on grueling climbs and for unique lighting condition management.
The race kicked off to a thrilling start on May 5th, with Team Bahrain-Merida leader and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali coming in 23rd in the first stage. The race was business as usual through the next 8 stages, with Nibali and Team Bahrain-Merida working tirelessly together to keep Nibali safe and protected while keeping the maglia rosa in their sights. An epic attack on the grinding Blockhaus climb and an exciting finish to the 9th Stage brought Nibali into 5th in the general classification. After his stage finish, fans mobbed the Sicilian around the team bus, asking for autographs and photos.
Two days later, Nibali closed the GC gap even further during the individual time trial and recovered important seconds from rival Nairo Quintana while wearing the Boost 01 Pro. “I’m happy,” said Nibali after decreasing his lead gap to less than three minutes. “I did a good race, and I managed to keep a good pace.”
Even after a crash involving a police motorcycle, a peloton slowdown, and nail-biting stage finishes, the most exciting part of the Giro d’Italia was yet to come. The real excitement occurred during the queen stage when pink jersey rider Tom Dumoulin pulled off abruptly to answer the call of nature at the bottom of a hard climb up Umbrailpass. The peloton wavered for about a minute and a half until it set off with an attack from some of the breakaway riders, and the chase was on. Nibali chased down Mikel Landa (Team Sky) with a kilometer to go to the top of the climb and turned the downhill route with hairpin turns into a master class on descending, even bunny hopping a wet patch of road to maintain the grip on his tires. Coming into the last curve before the finish line, Vincenzo ‘The Shark’ Nibali took the inner line and erupted out of the saddle to take Bahrain-Merida’s first stage win in a grand tour. Nibali continued to show his prowess as a Grand Tour champion in Stage 19, as the pink jersey changed from Dumoulin to Quintana. The Bahrain-Merida machine moved Nibali into a position to gain precious seconds on the lead, leaving him in third place by only 43 seconds.
Moving into the final stages, the Giro was anyone’s race – with a combative stage and the final TT in Milan, the race was decided in the end by iron grit and sheer bike handling skill and speed, with Quintana and Nibali climbing hard and battling back and forth during Stage 20, earning Nibali second place in the GC going into the ITT in Milan. With the top 5 ranked athletes separated by only 43 seconds, the riders put forth a fantastic effort, with Nibali coming in a scant 40 seconds after Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), who took the final win. Nibali and Dumoulin shared the podium with Nairo Quintana, who took second.
“I wanted to finish on the top step of the podium but I’ve no regrets because I gave my very best,” said Nibali, who after this win has collected 9 podium finishes in the last 13 Grand Tours he has ridden. “This is an important podium and an important result for me.” The Italian favorite also received the Trofeo Bonacossa award for his aggressive racing and stage victory in Bormio.
Team Trek-Segafredo worked hard to keep rider Bauke Mollema in contention through the grueling mountain stages, taking advantage of the three-way battle at the top of the GC rankings to work methodically toward a top ten finish, with Mollema finishing 7th. Continental Team CCC Sprandi Polkowice took home a 4th place finish in the team classification, thanks to their daily breakaway efforts in eye-catching orange. Young Czech rider Jan Hirt distinguished himself in the last mountain stages, finishing 12th overall. None of these remarkable achievements would have been possible without seamless teamwork from all of the riders, and the uncompromised vision and protection provided by the award-winning Tralyx XL sunglasses and RaceMaster helmets. The Rudy Project RaceMaster and Tralyx XL are available at official Rudy Project North America dealer locations, or online at www.e-rudy.com.