Breakaway stories: Sanchez "has no words", Alaphilippe happy with form, and Plapp didn't believe in pink Cycling

Breakaway stories: Sanchez "has no words", Alaphilippe happy with form, and Plapp didn't believe in pink

Breakaway stories: Sanchez "has no words", Alaphilippe happy with form, and Plapp didn't believe in pink

Pelayo Sanchez experienced a bizarre finale on Thursday. During the Giro gravel stage, the Spaniard of Movistar rode in a breakaway with Luke Plapp and Julian Alaphilippe and impressively clinched the victory in a three-way sprint. Afterward, Sanchez clearly in disbelief reflected on his first WorldTour victory. "I can't fully grasp this yet. I really have no words."

"To be honest, I have no words, this is incredible. This is a crazy day for me. I've been trying to conserve energy this Giro. I knew I wasn't in form yet. Today I was finally able to attack. I never could have imagined I'd win," said the man who had little confidence in his own abilities.

Sanchez bets on his sprint after failing to dro Plapp and Alaphilippe

"It was really tough. All day long, it was full throttle. I just waited for my moment. It came after two hours of racing and then I went all out. By then, we had a pretty big breakaway. I wanted to be there if any rivals dropped off." Sanchez succeeded, though he nearly took himself out with a strange maneuver on a roundabout.

"At the end, it was just me, Plapp and Alaphilippe. I think we worked well together. I tried to drop them, but it was impossible. Fortunately, I was fastest in the sprint," said the visibly overwhelmed Spaniard in the flash interview with Eurosport, after the tough and long stage in the breakaway.

Alaphilippe happy with form of the day and obviously disappointed with result

We finally got to see Julian Alaphilippe truly ride at the front in a big finale. The Frenchman launched the sprint early, seemed on his way to victory but was ultimately overtaken by Sanchez. A bitter pill for Alaphilippe, who will have to postpone his dreams of pulling off a trilogy of stage wins in all grand tours for a bit longer. The Spaniard shared his story in the flash interview after the race.

Alaphilippe quickly expressed satisfaction with his performance after the race. "I can be happy with the race I rode, I had fun and I felt good. I have no regrets about that. Yet, it definitely hurts to come so close to winning. I would like to have a do-over for the finale. But there are many more chances, the end of the Giro is not yet in sight," the 31-year-old Alaphilippe said, showing his fighting spirit.

Later, after a good shower, Alaphilippe elaborated on his form. "After my falls this season, I'm really on my way back to top level. It was super tough and I'm happy with how I raced. The three of us went full throttle. I really want to congratulate Pelayo Sanchez. I tried from the beginning. But everyone wanted to be in the break. I managed it on the climb and that shows I have good legs. I'm disappointed with the result, but I want to focus on the positives. I just wasn't the strongest."

Plapp cool and realistic about day in the race: "I didn't believe in pink and those other two guys were more explosive than me"

For a while, Luke Plapp seemed on his way to the pink jersey. Once that was in sight, the Australian champion had to adjust significantly. Sanchez and Alaphilippe were faster than him on paper, and that proved true in the three-way sprint. "This was a bizarre day. All day long there was no control, even in the first eighty kilometers. We actually have to thank Kaden Groves. He climbs well and initiated the break."

"We worked well together at the front, although I was looking both for time gains and the stage win. In the end, I had a harder time than the other two, and that's okay. I didn't really believe in the pink. The gap remained small, they could control it easily. They weren't going to let the jersey go. I also tried to save a little energy for tomorrow. There wasn't more in it for me in the sprint. I felt strong on the climbs, but the other two were faster and more explosive."

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