Van den Berg wins in MBPO; Affini spends the day in the break in the Giro
It was an action-packed day for the Academy as today we were in the start line of Holland Cup’s Midden-Brabant Poort Omloop as well as in the third stage of the Giro d’Italia U23. In the Netherlands, the race started with a six-man group going up the road but our six Academy riders quickly moved to the front of the bunch and controlled the situation. That initial move was brought back with more than 70 km to the finish, and shortly after it was our Julius van den Berg the one who attacked and a group of 12 riders, including Holland Cup’s overall leader Cees Bol, was formed. The gap kept on growing for the leading group, with van den Berg attacking in the final kilometers bringing two riders with him. The trio was not brought back, and the current U23 Dutch National TT champion seized his fifth win of the season. Meanwhile, in the group behind, Cees Bol was the fastest, adding up for a fourth place overall which allow him to keep on top of the Holland Cup’s overall classification, with van den Berg sitting in second. 

Julius van den Berg holds five wins under his belt in 2018: 
“The plan was to get on the podium today and it clearly worked. Once we were left in a group of 12, it was a very good situation for us because we were there together with Cees (Bol). I attacked once, then Cees went another time and in the second time I accelerated I could go away with two more riders, and I was the fastest in the sprint. Being able to win my fifth race of the season is the result of good training and resting, I am enjoying it a lot right now, but I want to keep on working an improving”. 

Today’s stage in Italy presented a completely flat parcour that brought the riders from Rio Saliceto to Mornico al Serio in a 164 km long loop. The winner of the prologue and first Maglia Rosa of the race, Edoardo Affini, attacked early on and remained solo on the lead for the whole day. Affini, was caught ten kilometers away from the finish line after a really strong effort and the race was decided in a massive sprint with our riders rolling in safely in the bunch. Tomorrow’s stage will feature the first mountaintop finish of the race all the way up the Passo Maniva, a first category climb. 

Edoardo Affini, Maglia Rosa wearer. 
“The plan was to protect our GC guys and, if possible, try to get into the breakaway. I attacked hoping that somebody would join me, but when I realized that nobody would come I just kept pushing and see what happened. It was a really nice feeling to ride close to my place while being alone on the break. Tomorrow the planning of the race will change and my role will be to support and protect our climbers as much as possible”.