Rudy Project North America, exclusive distributors of Italian-made endurance sports gear, congratulate their three pro cycling teams that just concluded a hard-fought Giro d’Italia Grand Tour on Sunday. Rudy Project equipped three teams in this historic Grand Tour with performance elevating eyewear, as well as providing top of the line helmets for Team Bahrain Merida. All told, Rudy Project teams brought home two triumphant stage wins and a stellar top five General Classification finish, along with top ten placements in Youth Classification, Points Classification, and Mountains Classification.
The 101st edition of the fabled Grand Tour began in Jerusalem, the first non-European start to the Giro ever. Team Bahrain-Merida sported gleaming Gold Velvet Boost Pro helmets with Multilaser Orange visors for the opening time trial. Race favorite Domenico Pozzovivo started his 12th Giro with a strong 10th place, down by only 27 seconds on the Maglia Rosa. The start of the race was bittersweet for Team Bahrain Merida, as key rider Kanstantsin Siutsou crashed on a tricky turn and fell over the front end of his TT bike. Thanks to his Rudy Project helmet, he did not suffer any head trauma, but sustained a fracture to his cervical vertebrae and was forced to withdraw from the race.
Rudy Project stormed to victory in the fourth stage, a brutal stage with screaming descents and a 7.5% grade climb to the finish. Break out star Tim Wellens of Lotto Fix All took the stage to take 4th in the overall classification, looking triumphant as he crossed the finish line with his contenders gasping up the climb behind him. The Tralyx XL made the ideal performance eyewear for the competitive push up the final hill; the increased depth and coverage of the shield-style lens provides an increased field of view for riders on the bike without visual interference from the frame, making it easy to see the way to the finish while in an aggressive riding position.
Trek-Segafredo pulled hard through Stage 5 – half of the breakaway was represented by the #ShowYourStripes team. The breakaway was a rare event in this year’s Giro tough climbing stages and a peloton dominated by GC riders gave little opportunities for spirited breakaways.
Stage Ten led to victory for Bahrain-Merdia though, with Slovakian Matej Mohoric outsprinting Nico Denz after pulling hard for team captain Domenico Pozzovivo. The young rider had his sights set on that stage from the get-go – “I marked it in red when I saw the route of this year’s Giro,” explained Mohorič after the win on a course that featured lots of hilly sections and a total elevation gain of 3,000 meters. “We planned to go in the break of the day and I tried at the start with a group of seventeen riders, but then when the peloton saw that Esteban Chaves dropped, they began the chase full gas. In the final I still felt great and I asked to Pozzovivo the permission to go. It was quite hard and I was not so confident to be able to win, but I’m tried my best in the final sprint. I did it and I’m super happy for me and for Team Bahrain-Merida.” Mahoric’s face said it all, as he raised his arms triumphantly to cross the finish line in his gold RaceMaster helmet and Rudy Project’s newly engineered Tralyx SLIM, designed specifically for athletes with slender) faces. ImpactX-2 photochromic lenses ensured that his vision stayed sharp, fog free and the perfect darkness depending on the light conditions for the entire stage.
The two-year-old team continued to display tenacity through the 21-stage race that made far more experienced teams pale in comparison. Bahrain-Merida ferociously pursued the General Classification, with Pozzovivo and the team pulling hard over what some have said is the most difficult Giro route to date. Stage 17 saw a podium stage finish for sprinter specialist Niccolo Bonifazio. Pozzovivo edged into third place in the general classification in Stage 18, keeping Chris Froome at bay by well over a minute, only to lose it in the following stage as Froome pulled off an epic solo attack to dominate the brutal stage. Froome went on to win the Maglia Rosa, with Pozzovivo recovering well with the help of the team to 5th place in the overall standings.
Lotto Fix All enjoyed a triumphant Giro on their own terms – “We came to the Giro to take a stage victory. So, we are very happy that we achieved that goal as Tim Wellens won the fourth stage in Caltagirone. We did not have any ambitions for the general classification, so we have to be satisfied we took a stage win,” said Bart Lysen, Sports Director for the team. “It has been a tough Giro, not only what the course was concerned but also because of the way of racing. Every stage was fast and furious from start to finish. Normally there are some easy stages with only a fast finale, but that clearly wasn’t the case in this year’s Giro. In the end, the riders decide how hard the race will be and they decided to make the Giro even more tough.” Lotto Fix All (a name change from Lotto Soudal for the Giro) sported the Tralyx and Tralyx XL with Multilaser Blue and Orange lenses – the specialty mirrored coating allowed for unbeatable sun protection and reduced eye fatigue through some of the longest days on the course.
No Rudy Project team felt that toughness more than Trek-Segafredo. The veteran team finished successfully with all 8 riders and kept the team intact, but with sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo recovering from an earlier injury and team leader Gianluca Brambilla only finding top form in the last week after pneumonia sidelined his preparation, it was a difficult race for the World Tour team that saw a tight-fisted Giro give little opportunities for breakaways. Moral remained high, however, and the resilient team battled all the way to the final stage with Ryan Mullen trying his hand at climbing (the 84-kilo cyclist acknowledged that hills are not his forte) and drawing out three other riders into the competition, including three-time world time trial champ Tony Martin.
“All of us at Rudy Project North America extend our heartfelt congratulations to all our amazing athletes in this year’s Giro, proudly wearing Rudy Project helmets and eyewear,” said Paul Craig, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Rudy Project North America. “Chapeau and can’t wait to see the battles, strategy and rising stars at the Tour and all our Pro Teams racing in North America for the remainder of the season.”
All Images Courtesy of Bettini Photo