Sidi athletes have celebrated yet more victories as riders take on the all-important Giro d’Italia warm-up races – the Tour of the Alps and the Tour of Croatia.
Tour of the Alps
Taking riders over five days of hard mountain racing in northern Italy and southern Austria, the Tour of the Alps is a real leg tester ahead of the Giro’s 4 May departure from Jerusalem.
Sidi-sponsored Astana Pro Team took three of the five stage victories on offer, getting things off to a fantastic start with a one-two finish for Spanish duo Pello Bilbao and Luis León Sánchez. The next day prompted more cause for Sidi to celebrate, with Miguel Angel Lopez out-sprinting Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) in the steep finale atop the Alpe di Pampeago.
Astana’s team tactics on Stage 4 meant the squad had five riders within the 15-strong group on the Bannberg climb, an advantage they pressed on the descent to set up Luis León Sánchez for a solo attack 2km out that the Spaniard held to the finish.
On the final stage in Innsbruck, the blue Astana jerseys were replaced with the red of Bahrain Merida, but the shoes crossing the line in first remained those from the Italian town of Maser.
With the podium contenders – Thibaut Pinot, Miguel Angel Lopez and Bahrain Merida’s Domenico Pozzovivo – marking each other on the final circuit that will be used in the World Championships at the end of the season, the way was clear for Mark Padun, a 21-year-old neo-pro from Bahrain-Merida. The Ukrainian rider attacked with 4km to go, taking his first professional victory ahead of a fast-charging George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo).
With the racing wrapped up, Sidi could take pride in two spots on the overall podium – Pozzovivo in second and Miguel Angel Lopez in third – both wearing Sidi Shot shoes. Meanwhile, Chris Froome, also sporting the iconic Sidi design, showed his Corsa Rosa prep is almost complete with a creditable fourth-place finish.
Tour of Croatia
Only three years in, the Tour of Croatia has already garnered a strong reputation as a pre-Giro test. Last year, Bahrain Merida star Vincenzo Nibali took the victory and this year, his Sidi-wearing teammates showed their strength.
The riders red, blue and gold took three stages and the overall. Niccolo Bonifazio took Stage 1 while Kanstantsin Siutsou claimed the Stage 3 summit finish and the race leadership. On Stage 5, it was Manuele Boaro’s turn and after Stage 6 Suitsou’s leader’s status was translated to the overall victory.
The Giro is just around the corner and judging by these performances, it’ll be a fascinating race this May.