Crunch time for British GiroBio team
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The Under 27 British team at the GiroBio in Italy is facing crunch time with only three stages remaining. The team's sports director, Max Sciandri, expects results after a disappointing two days in the northeast.
This weekend the nine-stage race travels into Tuscany, near the team's headquarters and the Italian home of sprinter Mark Cavendish, Quarrata.
"Luke [Rowe] is getting better and I am hoping in the last two days he will do well. The stages are suited to him, a lot of ups and downs," Sciandri told Cycling Weekly. "Both Andy [Fenn] and Luke need to make the escapes, they know the roads, particularly the stage on Saturday to Vitolini."
The British national team needs a success after two disappointing stages. Erick Rowsell abandoned the race while sitting seventh overall due to a crash on the way to Monte Grappa on Tuesday. He fractured a vertebra, but is in good condition and expected to travel with his parents back to Great Britain tomorrow.
On the flat, 148.2-kilometre run to Cesenatico today, following a rest day, George Atkins abandoned.
"George got popped today. He rode on his own to the finish, turning off to the hotel a few kilometres early," continued Sciandri. "He suffered the other day on the stage to Monte Grappa, coming in pretty late after struggling the whole day. It's understandable, it's an under 27 race and he just turned 18."
Constant rain and hail marked the stage. Chris Whorrall made an initial escape of 32 riders, but the team hand no one in the final selected of nearly 15 men. It was a critical split, Italian Paolo Locatelli attacked solo and won from it with 40 kilometres remaining. Colombian Carlos Betancur remains the leader.
Sciandri doesn't expect much from his remaining four riders - Fenn, Rowe, Whorrall, Mark Christian - in tomorrow's time trial, but the pressure will be on for the final two days.