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Felix Ritzinger claims the cyan jersey after a fantastic second stage-win

Felix Ritzinger claims the cyan jersey after a fantastic second stage-win

Felix Ritzinger claims the cyan jersey after a fantastic second stage-win

Α new general classification leader of the ΔΕΗ International Cycling Tour of Greece 2024 emerged upon the completion of the second stage. The cyan jersey changed hands and from the Portuguese Iuri Leitao of Caja Rural Seguros RGA it passed to the Austrian Felix Ritzinger of Team Felt Felbermayr.

In the 169.78-kilometre-long stage from Katerini to Karditsa, stage winner Ritzinger rose from the group that broke away early in the race. Three of them held off the peloton attack until the finish line and Ritzinger took advantage of his strong legs to take the Tour leader's jersey, right before tomorrow’s (May 17) queen stage, which will most probably decide the winner of this year's race.

Samuele Zoccarato and Konrad Czabok finished second and third in the second stage respectively.

The race

The day started under heavy rain in the Municipal Park of Katerini, but the sprinters were determined to fight for victory in a stage that favoured them, a day before they will set off for Velouchi.

With ten kilometres into the race, the first five-men breakaway group formed. Vini Monzon Savini Due OMZ's Filippo Tagliani managed to catch the front runners and earn the points from the first categorised climb at Livadi.

The 28-year-old Italian continued to push hard and won as well the first intermediate sprint in Elassona. On the second climb to Meluna it was Bike Aid's Anton Schiffer who took the maximum of points with Tagliani finishing second, a result that helped him claim the KoM jersey.

The Italian ranked second as well in the second intermediate sprint, 85 km before the finish line in Karditsa, which was won by Ireland's Ronan O'Connor of Global 6 United.

Some 25km before reaching Karditsa, there were only three left from the breakaway group: VF Group Bardiani CSF Faizane's Samuele Zoccarato, Mazowsze Serce Polski's Konrad Czabok and Team Felt Felbermayr's Felix Ritzinger, with a 2:15-minute gap from the peloton.

As they edged closer to the finish line outside the Municipal Stadium of Karditsa, it became apparent that a member of the breakaway group would win the stage, which was the case with Ritzinger’s victory. The Austrian claimed the cyan jersey, the points jersey remained in the possession of Leitao, as well as the best young rider to Cypriot Bogdan Zabelinski, who overcame an injury to his left wrist after falling just before the finish in the second leg of the first stage in Paralia Katerinis.


Felix Ritzinger: “I came here as part of my preparation for the Olympic Games. I tried a different setup in this stage but to be honest finally it worked out.

“Actually, we’ve been dropped in the first climb today and then saw the opportunity and went for the break again and this time it worked out well.

“We are here for the general classification, I wanted to stay in a position for the queen stage tomorrow, we’ll this worked and now I’m a GC leader. I don’t know if this is a good thing for me but I’ll try to do my best and honour the jersey.

“It’s a difficult day tomorrow because I’m not a climber. I’ll do my best and we’ll see, there are strong guys here. We are a good team and obviously we want to be in the GC. Tomorrow, we it be the biggest step towards this direction”.

Iuri Leitao: “We wanted to control the race but we didn't want to waste all our energy to achieve it. Our goal is the general classification, but with other athletes and not with me.

“We left the initiative to other teams today but in the end there was no good cooperation and somehow the breakaway riders reached the finish line first. Tomorrow is the most important day for us.

“I'll try to keep the points jersey until Athens".

Filippo Tagliani: “I am very satisfied that I managed to get into the breakaway and 8-9 km before the peak to attack and win the first KoM sprint.

“I would love to defend the jersey tomorrow which is the hardest day of the Tour and the one that will decide the GC classification.

“I hope to put in a good performance and then go for something better on Saturday and on Sunday”.

Bogdan Zabelinski: “It was quite rainy today and wet. Yesterday’s crash affected me a lot. All my equipment broke so I had to use the spare ones. My wound in the hand and shoulder made me feel itchy. It was not a big deal actually and I managed to maintain the jersey so I’m very happy with it.

“Tomorrow it will be a difficult stage. I will try somwthing I never did before. There will be too much climbing in single day. We will see how it goes. I’m going to think positively, hopefully my team will support me as well”.