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History all but repeated itself on the Giro d’Italia’s ascent of the Gran Sasso on Friday when Davide Bais clinched his first-ever victory for Eolo-Kometa. It was a victory which had distinct echoes of his teammate Lorenzo Fortunato’s unexpected triumph on the equally prestigious Zoncolan ascent in the 2021 edition.
Just as was the case for Fortunato two years ago, Bais’ victory on the Sasso was his first-ever win as a pro, came out of a fractured breakaway move, and provided a well-deserved triumph for one of the few non-WorldTour teams in this year’s Giro.
Bais is 25, too, the same age as Fortunato when he won on the Zoncolan back in 2021.
Well-known as a breakaway specialist – he was in no less than four moves in Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this year – Davide is not the only member of the Bais family racing in the Giro this year. His elder brother, Mattia, is also in the Eolo-Kometa corsa rosa lineup
Bais not only netted his first-ever pro triumph in his team’s biggest race of the season after he easily outsprinted Karel Vacek (Corratec-Selle Italia) and Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) at the summit of the Sasso.
‘It was almost impossible to attack’ – Remco Evenepoel on Giro truce at Gran Sasso
Giro d’Italia: Bais wins stage 7 from breakaway trio atop Campo Imperatore
Giro d’Italia: GC standings after stage 7 – Evenepoel, Roglic hold fire
He has also ousted Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) from the lead in the mountains classification, and as he said afterwards, his original aim in the break was to pick up points in that particular ranking. But then things turned out even better than he could dare hope.
“I saw the break was going to stick, and so I stayed with it to see what could happen,” Bais said about getting in a break that was formed very early on in the mammoth 218-kilometre stage.
“The last four to five kilometres were the best moments of all the stage, I tried to keep the other guys in the break close when they attacked because I knew my best options were to try for the win with a sprint,” he said.
“I stayed as calm as I could all the way up the climb, listened hard to what my directors told me over the radio and remembered to keep eating so I wouldn’t crack at the last minute.”
Part of the Eolo-Kometa team since it moved up to the Pro Conti level in 2021 and with a good performance in the 2020 U23 Giro d’Italia showing that his future lay in stage racing, Davide Bais’ brother Matteo, a year older, joined the same squad this winter. A few months later, they were both selected to race the Giro d’Italia.
“It’s fantastic to be with him in the Giro and even more so to have him in the same team,” Bais said. “We have a great relationship, and I’m sure he’ll be up there on the attack in the days to come.
“We’re very similar as racers, always trying to get into breaks. The only difference is our height and our age.”
Bais dedicated the win to another Eolo-Kometa teammate, whom he said is “currently fighting a very difficult battle. Arturo Gravalos, this victory is for you.”
Looking ahead, Bais is now in the lead of the mountains classification, with a hefty 26-point advantage over Pinot, and he says the next goal will be to try and defend his top spot in the days to come.
“It’ll be difficult, there are some very big names out there in the running,” Bais said, “but we’ll do our best and see how far we can go.”