Ballerini wins Sibiu Cycling Tour prologue
The 2018 edition of the Sibiu Cycling Tour started with the traditional short prologue through the city centre this evening. Italian Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) took the victory and the first yellow jersey of the race.
Finishing in 2:59.66 minutes, Ballerini was the only rider to stay below three minutes for the technical 2.2-kilometre parcours. Riccardo Stacchiotti from the Romanian MSTina - Focus team set an early benchmark that stood for a long time, but in the end he had to settle for second ahead of Ivar Slik (Monkey Town CT). Eduard Grosu (Romanian National Team) came in ninth and was the best-placed Romanian. Jens van den Dool (Delta Cycling Rotterdam) finished twelfth as the best U23 rider and will wear the orange jersey on stage 1.
At 6 pm local time, Jan Rajchart (Elkov - Author) started the 2018 Sibiu Cycling Tour on the Piața Mare next to the Brukenthal National Museum. The finish of the prologue was just a few steps away, but the riders had to go through many of the narrow, cobbled streets in the Historical Centre to get there, also crossing the Piața Mare midway through the course and passing the Sibiu city wall. The evening sun was out, and there was a good atmosphere with lots of spectators who cheered on all the riders as they went past, making strong efforts to accelerate out of the many corners.
Rajchart's time was quickly beaten by Stacchiotti, the second rider off the start ramp. Although many riders came close to his time of 3:01.78 throughout the stage, only the 23-year-old Ballerini was able to beat it right at the end. Ballerini will wear the yellow jersey of the race leader in tomorrow's stage 1 from Sibiu to Bâlea Lac. It is the biggest victory in his cycling career and the first one since joining the Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec team who could thus replicate their success from last year when Andrea Palini won the prologue.
Just over a month ago, Ballerini won the combativity award and the intermediate sprint classifications in the Giro d'Italia. He was overjoyed to see his efforts finally transform into a stage victory: “It was a good course,” Ballerini said after the podium ceremony. “A bit crazy with all the turns, but I like the pavé and gave it my all. From tomorrow, it will be all for Sosa, so you may well see me pulling the peloton in the yellow jersey on the Transfăgărășan.”
1. Davide Ballerini (ITA) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 2:59.66
2. Riccardo Stacchiotti (ITA) MSTina - Focus 3:01.78
3. Ivar Slik (NED) Monkey Town CT 3:02.12
Jersey wearers on stage 1:
Davide Ballerini (ITA) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
Jens van den Dool (NED) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
You can find the complete results here.