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VERONA, Italy (VN) – Fifth in the Giro d’Italia’s first time trial in Budapest on day two, 20-year-old grand tour debutant Ben Tulett underlined his future potential as a stage race contender by finishing in the same position on the race’s final day test in Verona a little more than three weeks later.
In between those two TTs, the young Ineos Grenadiers rider provided strong support for team leader Richard Carapaz, particularly in the high mountains, and learned a huge amount about racing and about himself.
Speaking to VeloNews soon after he arrived at the ceremonial race finish in Verona’s magnificent Roman arena, Tulett, who finished 38th overall, confessed that he’d enjoyed every moment of his grand tour baptism, insisting that he and the rest of the Ineos team had given everything they could in the quest to clinch the maglia rosa.
“It was a bit surreal to be at the finish, to be honest. It’s flown by so quickly. I’ve loved every second of it. We didn’t win the race, but it’s been a great team effort. I think we’ve all gone all-in to do the best job possible and, in the end, I think we achieved that,” Tulett said. “I’m happy with my first Grand Tour. It’s nice to finish up here in Verona in front of some amazing fans. It’s been really special to be out there today.”
Before starting this Giro, the Briton’s longest race was the eight-day Tour of Poland. In reaching Verona, he completed a competitive test two-and-a-half times as long and with significantly greater intensity in the racing within a stronger field of riders. He acknowledged that this is a great sign for the future.
“I’ve enjoyed this final week of racing. It’s been really tough in the mountains,” he said
“It’s been amazing to watch Carapaz. He’s so professional on and off the bike, and he’s certainly a big inspiration for me. It’s been incredible to be here.”
Asked what he’d learned about himself and his ability during the Giro, he responded: “I think doing a grand tour is like a year’s racing in one race. It’s pretty crazy. It’s different to any other race. Of course, 21 days of racing takes its toll. Now I’m looking forward to a little bit of rest, but hopefully I’ll be lining up in another grand tour soon.”
Ellingworth: ‘It’s been an amazing race for a 20-year-old’
Speaking to VeloNews prior to the time trial, Ineos deputy principal Rod Ellingworth said that he’d been hugely impressed by Tulett’s performance during the corsa rosa.
“What a great opportunity he’s had. The learning that he’s done will help him hugely in the future. I think it’s really promising,” Ellingworth said.
Also read: Ineos building out next generation of talent
“It’s been quite an amazing race for a 20-year-old kid. He’s been brilliant. The longest stage race he’d done before was the Tour of Poland, and you’re never sure how a young rider like him will fare over three weeks. But when you get 18 or 19 stages in and he’s not drifting, you can clearly see his capabilities.
“Looking at all of the numbers in his data, everything’s pretty much staying the same. He’s taken a really good step forwards, done a lot of learning. I think he’s enjoyed it, but he’ll be tired. We’ll just take our time with him now.”