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Belletti made it into a 33-rider group on a windy day in the Netherlands before taking a comfortable sprint win ahead of Markus and Carbel

Photo: Sirotti

BARRY MARKUS

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MANUEL BELLETTI

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MICHAEL CARBEL

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VINI ZABU KTM

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15.03.2015 @ 18:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Manuel Belletti (Southeast) confirmed that he back on track after a few disappointing seasons when he took a hugely dominant sprint win in today’s Dwars door Drenthe. Having made it into a 20-rider group on a windy day in the Netherlands, he beat Barry Markus (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Michael Carbel (Cult) in the final dash to the line to take the second win of his 2015 season.

 

The Southeast team has been known for its ability to pick up riders who have had a hard time, and put them back on track. In the past they have done so with Mauro Finetto and last year it was Simone Ponzi who seemed to shine after a few difficult years.

 

Among Ponzi’s victories were the GP Costa degli Etruschi and Dwars door Drenthe and it seems that those two races are the preferred events for the reinvigorated Southeast riders. This year it is Manuel Belletti who will try to get back on track with the Italian team, and like Ponzi he got it off to a great start when he won the GP Costa degli Etruschi earlier this year.

 

Today he continued his copy-paste of Ponzi’s 2014 season when he took a dominant win in the Dwars door Drenthe. The Italian made use of a combination of strength in the hard classics conditions and his fast sprint to win the flat, windy Dutch race.

 

Belletti was once regarded as a talented sprinter when he won a stage of the 2010 Giro d’Italia but during his time at Ag2r and Androni, his progress stalled. Today’s win confirmed that he is fully back on track after his difficult seasons.

 

Wind made the race a very hard one and the crucial action happened when a 33-rider group got clear in a difficult section. Belletti made it into the move the move with his teammates Ponzi, Finetto and Eugert Zhupa and they worked hard to maintain their advantage.

 

At one point, they were 1 minute ahead but in the peloton, CCC were working hard to get back in contention. With 5km to go, the gap was down to just 25 seconds but the group managed to stay clear. Belletti’s teammates said him perfectly up for the sprint and when he accelerated he was in a class of his own, clearly distancing Barry Markus and Michael Carbel.

 

With the Dwars door Drenthe done and dusted, a hectic week of racing in Drenthe is over. The next major Dutch race is the Ronde van Zeeland which takes place next Saturday.

 

A flat course

After yesterday’s Ronde van Drenthe, most of the same riders were back in action for the Dwars door Drenthe. The race was held on a 196.8km course that started and finishing in Roden and apart from two passages of the Vamberg climb in the first half, it was a mostly flat affair. With 33km to go, the riders tackled a small pave sector and the race ended with one lap of an 11.2km circuit around Roden.

 

The riders took the start under a cloudy sky and with a strong wind blowing, the race was expected to be a selective affair. After the first skirmishes, a 10-rider group got clear and they built an advantage of 1.30 by the time, they tackled the Vamberg for the second time.

 

The break is caught

LottoNL-Jumbo and Cycling Team Jo Poels took control of the peloton but as they hit a crosswinds section, the race turned into a battlefield. The peloton split into four pieces but later a regrouping took place.

 

Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) took off in pursuit of the 10 leaders but it all came back together. However, the group split again and suddenly a 33-rider group had gone clear.

 

The front group got an advantage of a minute over the peloton which was led by CCC. The chase paid off and with 5km to go, the Polish team had brought it down to just 25 seconds. However, the group managed to stay away and it was Belletti who came away with the win.

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