This victory is for you, Kristof. I gave everything I had to have this chance to dedicate a win to you up there, from where you are looking down and watching us.
Moved to tears after his victory at the end of the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, Matteo Pelucchi did not forget to honor the memory of the teammate with whom he shared his room at the Tour of Qatar early this past February. Kristof Goddaert, who died tragically in an accident while training on February 18th, has remained in the memories of his IAM Cycling teammates.
After this victory in a World Tour race in front of the best sprinters in the peloton, including Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, André Greipel as well as Arnaud Démare, the 25 year old Pelucchi has well and truly demonstrated his strength and potentials. After stepping down from the podium where he collected the red jersey worn by the leader in the points classification, Matteo Pelucchi took his head in his hands. But what am I supposed to do? I don't think it has sunk in yet. It will take me a little time. Though I was first across the line, it is thanks to the amazing team work from all the guys.
During the final circuit, all my teammates fulfilled all their tasks, protecting me perfectly at the front of the pack. I simply couldn't disappoint them. Roger Kluge and Heinrich Haussler were assigned to protect me and slotted me into an ideal position once we passed under the final kilometer marker. But the whole sprint set up was total confusion and chaos. There really wasn't much of a team with a train to take the situation in hand.
I initially set myself onto Cavendish's wheel, but then I gained a few places to grab onto Greipel with 300 meters to go I came out from behind his draft and in spite of the head wind, I held on for the win. Before heading off to doping control, the Italian who has established himself in Switzerland brought to mind the hard work he had put in all during the off season.
The training I worked through this whole winter is paying off today. It has not always been easy. But during the race in Mallorca, I could already see the progress I had made. Now to win a World Tour event in my third participation in a race of this level will give me great confidence. And it will also give my teammates a boost and motivation in the training days and races ahead.
Photo Credits : TDWSport.com