News: Zappi Juniors in Italy

Zappi Juniors racing in Italy at the UCI 2.1 Junior stage race Giro di Basilicata where Mark Donovan was first on GC and Ben Healy best young rider

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News: Zappi Juniors in Italy

After a successful August with great results at the Aubel-Thimister-Stavelot (when Mark Donovan won overall) followed by solid results at the Ronde Des Vallees and Junior Tour of Wales, the Zappi Juniors assembled in Italy last weekend to draw the final curtain on the 2017 season.

The team travelled to Southern Italy to participate in the prestigious and mountainous “Giro di Basilicata” UCI 2.1 stage race which operates in the region nestled midway between Naples and Bari, with stages starting and finishing in Filiano, Grassano, Matera, Sasso di Castaldo and Viggianello. The race began with 120 international riders including the Russian National Team.

The Zappi Junior team lined-up with Mark Donovan, Jacques Sauvagnargues, Ben Healy, Jake Wright, Lewis Hartley; but also included guest rider Harrison Wood from Devon.

Being in Southern Italy, the weather was generally fantastico with stages run at +25C. The parcours were generally… mountainous, which kind of suited the goats in the team.

On stage 1 (Filianio – Filanio, 91.7km) the Zappi boys put down a storming performance with Ben Healy initially attacking for a GPM (KOM points) and then joined soon afterwards by Mark Donovan and Jacques Sauvagnarges. These three then rode at tempo and opened up a significant gap very quickly as the peloton were seemingly not too concerned!
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As the race progressed, various individuals and teams attempted to bring the trio back but to no avail and by the time the three returned to the finish, the gap to the peloton had opened to over 4 minutes. At the finish, the three riders rode home together “in style” with Jacques taking the win from Ben and Mark. Lewis and Jake both finished towards the head of the peloton in 19th and 21st respectively. Unfortunately, Harrison Wood crashed out and was unable to finish the stage in the time cut.

On stage 2 (Grassano – Matera, 92.1km) the Zappi boys looked to control the race to basically consolidate their positions going into the final day. A break did establish towards the end of the race containing Jake and the eventual stage winner Mason Hollyman riding for the Identity Racing Team. Mason attacked out of this group and soloed up the final climb to take an 11 second advantage over the remains of the peloton.

Mark, Ben and Jacques finished safely towards the front of the peloton and maintained their GC positions. This was a great result for Mason and another stage win for a UK rider! Stage 3 (Sasso di Castaldo – Viggianello, 119km) was the longest and the most gruelling stage finishing at the top of a long steady climb. Going into the final stage we had Jacques in yellow and Mark wearing the points with Ben Healy holding the KOM and Best young rider jerseys.

On the final climb of the day it was Mark Donovan who put the hammer down and broke away from the remnants of the peloton with Jacques not too far behind (15 seconds in the end). Ben spent a lot of energy securing the KOM jersey and was unable to match the pace at the very front of the race but he still finished high up on the stage in 29th and did enough to keep the best young rider overall. Jake finished in 18th place just under two minutes down whilst Lewis finished mid-field in 50th.

With Mark, Jacques and Ben riding so well across all the stages and Jake also having a consistent race, the Zappi team completely dominated and won the overall team classification. Not only that, with Ben winning the Best Young Rider and King of the Mountains and Mark taking the overall Individual Classification (yellow jersey) and the Points Classification the team swept up a massive haul of trophies and jerseys to bring back to the UK. The only jersey/trophy that the team did not win was the “local rider” classification for which we were not eligible!

These results yet again demonstrate the strength in depth of the Zappi Junior team adding to long list of top class results from the class of 2017. It will be hard to improve in the 2018 season but we will certainly try!

Results Summary…

Stage 1:
1 Jacques Sauvagnargues
2 Ben Healy
3 Mark Donovan
19 Lewis Hartley
21 Jake Wright

Stage 2:
15 Jacques Sauvagnargues
19 Mark Donovan
21 Ben Healy
27 Jake Wright
55 Lewis Hartley

Stage 3:
1 Mark Donovan
5 Jacques Sauvagnargues
29 Ben Healy
18 Jake Wright
50 Lewis Hartley

1 Mark Donovan
2 Jacques Sauvagnargues
3 Ben Healy
16 Jake Wright
34 Lewis Hartley

Best Young Rider: Ben Healy
King of the Mountains: Ben Healy
Points Classification: Mark Donovan




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