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After hard work from Trek all day, Nizzolo proved to be the strongest in the uphill sprint at the GP Kanton Aargau; Pasqualon was second while Tanner rounded out the podium

Photo_ Sirotti

ANDREA PASQUALON

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DAVID TANNER

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GP KANTON AARGAU 

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GIACOMO NIZZOLO

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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09.06.2016 @ 20:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Less than two weeks after being relegated in the final stage of the Giro d’Italia, Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) finally got his elusive victory when he came out on top in Switzerland’s biggest one-day race, GP Kanton Aargau Gippingen. After his Trek teammates had worked hard to bring back a strong 14-rider break, the Italian was the fastest in the uphill sprint, holding off Andrea Pasqualon (Roth) and David Tanner (IAM) to take the biggest one-day win of his career.

 

One of the most heartbreaking stories of the Giro d’Italia was Giacomo Nizzolo’s many near-misses. Having already finished second on seven previous stages of his home grand tour, the Italian fast man was again second on two stages of this year’s addition of the race. However, the dramatic highlight came on the final day when he had crossed the line first for what he thought was his first grand tour stage win only to learn that he had been relegated for irregular sprinting.

 

Today Nizzolo returned to competition at the GP Kanton Aargau and even though a victory in Switzerland’s biggest one-day race couldn’t make up for a win at the Giro, he was determined to finally get that elusive first place. All day he asked his Trek teammates to control a strong 14-rider breakaway and when they had finished their job, things finally came together for the in-form Italian as he won the uphill sprint in Leuggern to take the biggest one-day victory of his short career.

 

The 53rd edition of the GP Kanton Aargau was held on a new 18.87km circuit that the riders would cover 10 times for a total distance of 188.7km. It started and finished in Leuggern close to Gippingen. After one kilometre of flat riding, the riders hit a small climb which averaged 3.9% over 2.4km. The top came with 16.5km to go and after a short flat section, it led to a long gradual descent.  For the final five kilometres, the riders headed a flat, winding road with no major technical challenge but there was a nasty sting in the tail as the final 500m were uphill at around 5%.

 

 

The forecasted rain had stopped in time for the start and so it was a motivated and relieved peloton that rolled out from Leuggern, with Eros Capecchi (Astana) being the only non-starter. The hilly circuit was an invitation to aggressive racing and so it was no surprise that there were lots of attacks on the first laps.

 

When the dust had settled halfway through the second lap, 16 riders had escaped but two riders quickly lost touch. Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE), Francesco Gavazzi, Marco Frapporti, Mirko Selvaggi (Androni), Reinardt van Rensburg (Dimenson Data), Nino Schurter (Switzerland), Danilo Wyss (BMC), Larry Warbasse (IAM), Marco Marcato (Wanty), Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18), Francois Bidard (Ag2r), Patrick Schelling (Vorarlberg) and Bruno Pires (Roth) pressed on and reached the end of the second lap with an advantage of 34 seconds.

 

The peloton were reluctant to let such a big group get a big advantage and so the gap was still only 1.24 at the end of the third lap. Katusha had taken charge for the chase with Nils Politt and Sergey Lagutin and they were quickly joined by teammate Dmitry Kozontcuk, Frank Schleck, Riccardo Zoidl, Fabian Cancellara,Stijn Devolder, Gregory Rast (Trek), Ruben Zepuntke and Alan Marangoni (Cannondale) who controlled the race for most of the day.

 

At the end of the fourth lap, the gap was still only around 1.30 but it had almost gone out to two minutes at the halfway point. That was the signal for the peloton to up the pace and the gap had been reduced to 1.32 at the end of the sixth lap. It was relatively unchanged for the next lap but it was down to 1.10 at the start of the penultimate lap. At this point most of the work was done by the Cannondale pair of Kristijan Koren and Davide Villella as the early workers had swung off.

 

Gavazzi, Schelling and Pires were dropped on the ninth lap and were brought back before they started the final lap. It was Lampre-Merida that had now taken control, with Kristijan Durasek and Przemyslaw Niemiec leading the peloton across the line 40 seconds behind the leaders.

 

Despite their best efforts, the escapees were caught with 15km to go and so it all came down to the expected bunch sprint on the uphill finishing straight. Despite having used most of his team to control the stage, Nizzolo turned out to be the fastest as he beat Andrea Pasqualon in a close battle. David Tanner was a distant third.

 

With the GP Kanton Aargau done and dusted, the attention turns to the biggest race in Switzerland. On Saturday, the national tour, Tour de Suisse, will kick off and will have many of the riders from today’s race at the start.

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