The 2020 Giro d’Italia was an incredible success for Israel Start-Up Nation who rode their way to their very first World Tour and Grand Tour victory when Alex Dowsett emphatically claimed honours on Stage 8.
To add to the history making achievement, throughout the three weeks, the team determinedly put their Factor’s to battle daily over some of Italy’s most testing terrain, coming away with a string of top ten’s and weary, yet satisfied legs come the Grand Finale in Milan.
Here, we take a look inside the Giro with the team; from the pinnacle race-winning moments, to the hard times fighting it out through the Italian mountains.
The opening stage of the Giro d’Italia was off to a fiery start in Sicily with a 15km, mostly downhill time trial in blustery conditions, from Monreale to Palermo.
A prime opportunity for Israel Start-Up Nation to push their Factor SLiCK’s to the limit, with added motivation that the Maglia Rosa was anyone’s to grasp.
Following a lightning quick performance, Matthias Brändle rode in to a commendable 10th place.
Meanwhile, team sprinter Rick Zabel ironically had his eyes on the blue ‘climber’s jersey. To claim the prize, he opted for the unique tactic of starting out the day on his Factor ONE, then went ‘full gas’ from the gun to sprint his way up and over the race’s first GPM, riding his way into blue as he went.
As early as Day 3, the Giro took its first delve into the mountains with a challenging, undulating stage from Enna, to the finish up the famous, Mount Etna.
Following a mountainous Stage 3, Stage 4 fell in favour of the fast men with a 130km mostly flat run from Catania to Villafranca Tirrena.
Israel Start-Up Nation’s sprint focussed team were all eyes on the finish as they cruised along the Tyrrhenian coast aboard their Factor ONE’s, dialled and ready to go head-to-head with the world’s best for Grand Tour honours.
In the end, it was Davide Cimolai who led the team in for 7th place after some great team-work in the closing stages.
Following a thrilling opening four stages through beautiful Sicily, the Giro ventured across to the mainland for Stage 5, and into the hills, they went. The lumpy route included a testing three categorised climbs with the biggest hurdle of the day being the 25km Valico di Montescuro, before a prompt 10km downhill run into the finish in Camigliatello Silano. Another day for the VAM to dance.
STAGE 6 & 7
Stage 6 and 7 were all about the coastal views, stunning history-rich Italian villages and fiery, fast sprint finishes.
Israel Start-Up Nation were right amidst the thick of the action both days, their well oiled lead out train delivering fast-men Davide Cimolai and Rudy Barbier to 5th and 6th place respectively.
Stage 8 was when the magic happened. It all began when Alex Dowsett and Mathias Brandle both made the day’s early 6-man breakaway and quickly established a very healthy lead. As the 6 continued to work seamlessly together, the gap only grew, and their chances of surviving to the finish seemed almost certain.
At the pointy end, Israel Start-Up Nation used their advantage of having two riders in the move to perfection as they started to put some pressure on and counter off each other’s moves. At 18km to go, Dowsett unleashed a perfectly timed attack, riding clear of the group, then used his time trial skills to superbly hold off the chase and ride his way into Vieste to claim an emotional victory and a monumental one at that for the team.
The images speak for themselves just how much this one meant! What a day.
In typical Giro d’Italia fashion, the first rest day had to be really earned. So they dished out an arduous, mostly uphill 208km stage 9 route from San Salvo to Roccaraso that included four categorised climbs, making for a brutal day in the saddle for most and some serious race fireworks come crunch time.
Israel Start-Up Nation’s sprint-strong team, had their work cut out for them along with the rest of the large race grupetto, although sat comfortably within the pack, letting their O2 VAM’s do most of the talking.
Stage 11 ventured from Porto Sant’Elpidio to Rimini up the Adriatic coast over a swift, flat route, ensuring the sprinters and their teams were game-on for another mad dash to the line.
Israel Start-Up Nation were once again right up there amongst the nitty gritty come the finish, positioning Rick Zabel faultlessly, who stormed in to claim 5th place on the stage.
Another top effort by the team of fast men who rode their ONE’s in with absolute class.
Stage 12 was a day to sit back and appreciate the incredible scenery on display as the peloton travelled though the picturesque Emilia Romagna region over the famous roads of the Nove Colli Gran Fondo. Starting and finishing in the coastal town of Cesenatico, the action unfolded from the go as they headed straight for the hills that came and went within quick succession of each other all day long, ensuring a tough day out on the pedals for all.
Stage 14 at the Giro saw the riders switch out their weapons to the Factor SLiCK as they set out to conquer the race’s second time trial through the Vento region.
The race against the clock departed in spectacular fashion from the Unesco World Heritage Site, the Prosecco Superiore and then went on to cover 33.7km of lumpy terrain, with a stunning backdrop of prosecco vineyards for most of its entirety.
British National Time Trial Champion Alex Dowsett and Austrian National Time Trial Champion Mathias Brändle both put in solid performances to arrive at the finish in Valdobbiaden inside the top 20.
Stage 15’s 185km route from Rivolto to Piancavollo wasn’t one for the faint hearted, again dishing out a relentless day in the mountains to really earn the second rest day that would follow.
Talk of the day was the last ascent to the finish up the Piancavallo, famously known for when Marco Pantani won up its steep slopes in 1998.
Israel Start-Up Nation courageously battled their way over climb after climb, guided by their O2 VAM’s as they went, finishing the day amongst the pack.
Stage 17’s 5,000m day out was a real climbers playground with Forcella Valbona, Monte Bondone, Aldeno, Passo Durone and the Madonna di Campiglio the major climbs for the day.
The Giro continued to dish out some serious suffering on Stage 18 as the race ventured from Pinzolo to Lago di Cancano over an incredibly testing 207km route. The day included 5,400m of climbing and four categorised climbs, including the race’s ‘Cima Coppi’, the infamous Stelvio, snow lined and all.
From there, the race was far from over as the leaders briskly made their way down the other side and straight onto the slopes of the 21 hairpin climb to the Laghi de Cancano where another brutal summit finish lay.
The final stage was a fast and furious final time trial around the city streets of Milan. It was the final opportunity of the season for most to put their SLiCK’s to the test.
At Factor Bikes, we’re incredibly proud of the way the team has ridden and fought through what has been an immensely challenging 2020 Giro. Congratulations to you all.
Celebrate and recover well!
DISCOVER ISRAEL START-UP NATION’S BIKES FROM THE GIRO D’ITALIA
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