AIRace final act in Trieste makes Hodeg and Padun happy

Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Colombian took his second stage win while Bahrain-Merida’s Ukrainian sailed the 2019 Adriatica Ionica Race overall win ahead of Ben Hermans and James Knox

2019 Adriatica Ionica Race finished in the rain in Trieste, where Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Alvaro Hodeg gave an encore of his previous win in the stage 2 in Grado, emerging in the bunch sprint in style. There were no surprires in the last stage from Cormons to Trieste (103,5 km) and Ukrainian Mark Padun bagged his deserved overall win shaped on the Dolomitic stage in Misurina Lake.

Today’s stage was very demanding and nervous. My gratitude to the whole team that dave me support and condifence day by day. I want to grow further in stage races that are my target. I had an unlucky season so far due to an annoying tendonitis. This race is a new start for me”, Padun said.

The daring move of the day saw four riders – Winner Anacona (Movistar), Matteo Badilatti(Israel Cycling Academy), Joel Nicolau (CajaRural-Seguros RGA) and Thimo Willems(SportVlaanderen-Baloise) – in the frontline but their advantage never exceeded the 2 minutes as the strongest teams streaving to keep the gap under control with different goals: Astana looking for a success, Deceuninck-Quick Step to pave the Hodeg’ way ahead of the sprint, Bahrain-Merida to safeguard the GC leader Mark Padun.

The three escapees’ resistance was broken with 20 km to go. On the final approach to the line, Deceuninck-QuickStep seized definitive control of affairs at the head of the peloton, seemingly with Hodeg in mind. In the end, the Colombian emerged victorious ahead of Sacha Modolo (EF Education First) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo).

I was looking for this win with the full cooperation of my teammates. Evenepoel and Honoré kept the breakaway, not easy in such a short stage. Senechal and Knox opened the way at their best in the finale, happy to reward all of them with this success”, Hodeg commented.

The overall podium saw Mark Padun (Bahrain Merida) as 2019 Adriatica Ionica Race preceding Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy, +0:15) and James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick Step, +0:24) while the yesterday’s winner Remco Evenepoel, today delayed in the finale, sliding down to eighth.”We’re really happy with the event’s final outcome – organization chairman Moreno Argentinexplained – we aimed to build up a tougher race than last year for true all-around riders and we succeded. It’s just the start of a long path, the goal is to bring AIRace to a relevant role in the international calendar, by promoting the beautiful regions we pass through and improving our media exposure”.