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Giro Next Gen

Huub Artz triumphs in Zocca

On Saturday June 15, Huub Artz won the seventh and penultimate stage of the Giro Next Gen, giving Wanty-ReUz-Technord a prestigious victory in the U23 version of the Giro d’Italia. 

After crashing at the start of the stage, the 22-year-old Dutchman was part of the early breakaway that battled for victory on the final climb to the finish at Zocca, after 12 kilometers at an average gradient of 5%. 

Huub Artz overcame his rivals one by one to win solo, 25 seconds ahead of his runner-up. It’s Wanty-ReUz-Technord’s first victory in this prestigious event, and the first time a breakaway has gone all the way in this edition. For Huub Artz, future rider of the Intermarché-Wanty World Team, it was his second success this season after Gent-Wevelgem U23.

A formidable demonstration of resilience from the young group led by Kévin van Melsen, who had lost their overall leader Wouter Toussaint earlier in the stage. The Dutchman was suffering from the after-effects of crashes in the preceding days, after finishing second in Pian de Mussa.

Huub Artz: “What a day. It all started so badly. I crashed after 10 kilometers on a steep descent. My right calf was swollen and I couldn’t exert any force for a while. The signals were rather pessimistic, and I thought I couldn’t go any further. But like the team, I didn’t give up. I saw a group of five riders go off, and my team-mates were chasing behind to catch them. That’s when I jumped out and joined the breakaway. If it hadn’t been for their effort, I’d never have been able to go in the clear.”

“Our lead quickly grew to four minutes, and even to six minutes. At that point, I was sure our breakaway was going to challenge for the stage win. The pace began to drop in the final, so I pulled away with two other climbers. I was confident in my abilities on the final climb, so I dictated my pace 9 kilometers from the summit, and it worked.”

“Collectively, we’ve been on top form all week. We trust each other. Today, we demonstrated our ability to react after a big setback. Wouter was forced to retire as he was suffering too much from his crash yesterday. I’m delighted to have been rewarded for going all the way, and it’s a victory I’m proud of.”

“This year, I’ve achieved things I had no idea I could. I’m already looking forward to next winter, when I hope to take further steps with Intermarché-Wanty and get ready for my World Tour debut. I started cycling at the age of ten and knew right away that I wanted to become a professional. That dream is going to come true next year, it’s surreal.”

General Classification


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