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After a hard, aggressive race, 60 riders arrived at the finish for a sprint where Colbrelli beat Bole and Chinello to mark himself out as an outsider for the World Championships

Photo: Sirotti






20.09.2014 @ 17:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) confirmed that he deserves his selection for the Italian Worlds team when he won today’s Memorial Marco Pantani. Having made it into the 60-rider front group on the selective course around Cesenatico, he beat Grega Bole (Vini Fantini) and Fabio Chinello (Aero Zero) in the sprint to take his third professional victory.


Sonny Colbrelli got agonizingly close to a big win in Tre Valli Varesine where he was passed by Michael Albasini just metres from the line. Today he got his revenge when he won the Memorial Marco Pantani in a hard edition of the Italian one-day race.


With the Italian national team and Cannondale as the driving forces, the peloton exploded to pieces on the steep Montevecchio climb and after the final passage of the main challenge, a 20-rider front group had escaped. Colbrelli proved his strength and he stayed calm when more riders joined from behind to form a 60-rider group.


In the end, his Bardiani teammates helped keep things together for a sprint finish. Here Colbrelli proved his excellent condition when he beat Grega Bole and Fabio Chinello to take his third win of the season and his short career, setting himself perfectly up for the World Championships.


The 11th Memorial Marco Pantani was held on a 189.8km that startd and finished in Cesenatico. After a mostly flat start, the riders did three laps of a circuit that included the steep Montevecchio climb. Going back towards Cesenatico, the riders tackled another small climb whose top was located 51km from the finish. In the end, the riders did 4 laps of a completely flat 5.3km finishing circuit.


Endi Sirol (Utensilnord) and Pavel Ptashkin (Itera) were the only non-starters when 192 riders took on the challenge that is held in memory of Marco Pantani. The first part of the race was characterized by lots of attacks but this time the early break escaped much earlier than usual in the Italian one-day races.


Jarlinson (Pantano), Alessio Taliani (Androni), Adrian Kurek (CCC), Tsgabu Grmay (MTN), Roman Semyonov (Astana CT) and James Piccolo (Amore e Vita) were allowed to build an advantage that already reach 1.20 after 15km of racing. With the peloton showing no interest in the chase, the gap reached 6.35.


A sudden acceleration split the peloton in two but things came back together after a small chase. Instead, Cannondale hit the front to set up a sprint for Elia Viviani and at the 50km mark, they had brought the gap down to 5.20.


The Italian team set a hard pace up the Montevecchio to reduce the size of the bunch to just 40 riders. At the top, they trailed the leaders by 3.12 while a second group was at 3.40 and a third group was at 4.12.


The first two group merged on the descent and so 80 rider were together as they approached the climb for the second time. At this time, Bardiani had taken control but as they went pretty slowly, the final group also made the junction.


As they approached the climb for the second time, Cannondale again hit the front but at this point, the ga had reached 4.45. Meanwhile, Piccoli had to fight his way back to the front group after a mechanical.


The Canadian was again dropped as they started the Montevcchio. While he lost ground, Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) and Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani) were setting a fast pace in the bunch.


Near the summit Caruso and Fabio Aru (Italy) and they were joined by Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Davide Formolo (Cannondale). The attacking continued, with Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli) and Tiago Machado (NetApp) both being active.


Piccoli was now 1.50 behind while a small group of attackers was at 2.40 after Diego Rosa, Andrea Zordan (both Androni), Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural) and Gianni Moscon (Italy) had joined the four original escapees. The peloton was 36 seconds further adrift and had been significantly whittled down.


The Aru group was brought back a fast-moving 50-rider first peloton that had brought the gap down to 21.5 Meanwhile, a second group had lost a minute and seemed to be out of contention.


The pace briefly went down before the attacking restarted. Moscon was again part of the action and he was joined by Marco Marcato (Cannondale), Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia), Maciej Paterski (CCC), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), Mirko Selvaggi (Wanty) and Mirko Tedeschi (Idea)


Nonetheless, it was Italy that started to chase and they brought the counterattackers back, with Vincenzo Nibali riding on the front. His fast pace brought the gap down to less than a minute and brought Piccoli back.


After 115km of racing, it was over for the original escapees while the second peloton had already lost 2.25. Now Aru was also contributing to the pace-setting while Nibali decided to sit up.


As they hit the climb for the final time, Formolo, Giampaolo Caruso, Franco Pellizotti (Androni) and Machado attacked. At the top, they were 30 seconds ahead of a group that had been whittled down to just 17 riders.


Finetto set off in pursuit as they started the descent while Sanchez had started to chase in the second group that trailed the nearest chasers Moscon, Damiano Caruso, Davide Villella (Cannondale), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia), Zordan, Colbrelli, Bongiorno, Paterski, Davide Rebellin (CCC), Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural), Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp), Frederik Backaert (Wanty), Kevin Seeldreyers (Wanty), Simone Petilli (Aero Zero and Alessandro Bisolti (Vini Fantini). Finetto made the junction but moments later, they were caught by their chasers.


Neri Sottoli had now taken over the pace-setting in the next group that was 50 seconds behind. Meanwhile, Machado again made an attack and he managed to build an advantage of 15 seconds before he was joined by Rebellin who attacked on the final climb.


The two escapees were brought back and now the peloton was getting closer. As there was no cooperation in the first group, Neri Sottoli had brought the gap down to less than 30 seconds with 35km to go.


As the Italian team started to struggle, Caja Rural also came to the fore. Nonetheless, the gap stayed at around 20 seconds for a long time.


Machado and Backaert tried to attack and they started the first lap of the finishing circuit with an advantage of 8 seconds. Moments later, the junction between the two main group was finally made, leaving 60 riders to contest the win.


The front duo was brought back and instead Jose Mendes (NetApp) gave it a go but Aero Zero and Bardiani were now keeping everything under control. Lots of attacks were launched and suddenly an 8-rider group with Machado got clear.


Valencia and Petilli bridged the gap but it all came back together. Machado tried again and now Pellizotti and Finetto set off in pursuit.


They were both brought back and so Machado was the lone escapee when they started the final lap. He was brought back after a few hundred metres as Italy had now taken control.


Bongiorno took a turn for Bardiani but it was Androni that led the group under the flamme rouge. Cannondale took over but it was again Bardiani that gave Colbrelli the perfect lead-out.


The series of Italian one-day races that serve as preparation for Worlds, ends tomorrow with the GP Prato.



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