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Rebellin attacked out of the group of favourites on the San Luca climb to pass a fading Madrazo and hold off Pellizotti to win the race for the second time in his long career










11.10.2014 @ 17:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Davide Rebellin (CCC) again proved that age is just a number when he won the 97th edition of the Italian semi-classic Giro dell’Emilia, one of Italy’s most prestigious one-day races. The Italian attacked out of a 5-rider group on the famous San Luca climb, passed a fading Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural) and held off Franco Pellizotti (Androni) to win the race 8 years after his first victory.


All year Davide Rebellin has been his usual consistent self but until today he had been unable to take a single individual win. Today he finally broke his drought and he did so by winning one of the biggest races on his schedule.


With 4 previous podium finishes, Rebellin has always been one of the best riders in the Giro dell’Emilia and today he again proved that he is perfectly suited to the hard uphill finish on the San Luca climb in Bologna. After a gradual selection had whittled down the main group to just 6 riders, Rebellin was still there and the waited for the final of 5 passages of the climb to make his move.


For a brief moment, it seemed that he had lost it all as Angel Madrazo had launched a strong attack from the bottom, passing early escapee Gianfranco Zilioli (Androni) in the process. At the red kite, the Spaniard was 20 seconds ahead but Rebellin still had a strong acceleration left in the tank.


When Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani) made an attack, Rebellin countered the move and he passed the fading Madrazo with just a few hundred metres to go. While Rebellin soloed across the line, the Caja Rural managed to hold off a fast-finishing Franco Pellizotti to take second.


The 97th Giro dell’Emilia took place on a very traditional 200km route from Bologna to the top of the steep San Luca climb in Bologna. After a flat first part, the riders went up the big Valica di San Lucia and Badolo climbs before they descended to the city of Bologna. Here they climbed to the finish for the first time before starting the first of four laps of the decisive 10.3km circuit that consisted of the feared 2km climb, its descent and a short flat stretch in between.


133 riders took the start under beautiful sunshine and in very pleasant weather conditions, with Maciej Paterski (CCC) being the only non-starter. They got the race off to a very fast start with lots of attacks and hard chasing.


The fast pace created a split in the group which allowed a 23-rider group to get clear. Manuele Mori, Luca Dodi (Lampre-Merida), Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale), Emanuele Sella, Antonino Parrinello (Androni-Venezuela), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Giuseppe Fonzi (Neri-Alé), Adrian Kurek (CCC Polsat), Antonio Piedra (CajaRural-RGA), Duber Quintero (Colombia), Sergey Klimov (Rusvelo), Ferekalsi Debesay, Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka), Danilo Napolitano (WantyGroupe-Gobert), Massimo Collodel (Team Idea), Nicola Dal Santo (Nankang-Fondriest), Andrea Zanardini, Raffaello Bonusi, Andrea Vaccher (Marchiol), Fabio Chinello, Gianluca Leonardi (Area Zero-D'Amico), Mattia Frapporti, and Ricardo Creel (MGKVis-Wilier) gradually started to build an advantage that reached 39 seconds after 12km of racing.


Colomia and Neri Sottoli started to chase, with the latter team asking Fonzi to drop back to assist his teammates. The gap reached a first maximum of 45 seconds but the hard work started to pay off, with Neri Sottoli spending most of the time on the front.


At the 23km to go, the gap was down to 30 seconds but now the peloton again started to lose ground. After 32km of racing, the gap has reached 50 seconds and it seemed that the main group was losing the battle.


The gap stayed around the 45-second mark for a long time but as they neared the end of the first hour of racing, the balance started to tip. As Zanardini and Creel were dropped from the front group, the gap was down to 29 seconds as the riders completed the first 60 minutes at an average speed of 50.7kph.


At the 56km mark, Colombia and Neri Sottoli finally brought the front group back, opening the door for new attacks. A very hectic phase followed but for a while nobody was able to get clear.


As the riders hit the bottom of the first climb, the attacks continued, with Gianfranco Zilioli (Androni), Francis De Greef (Wanty) and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia) being among the most active. The trio was joined by Hubert Dupont (Ag2r), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC), Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural), Sergey Firsanov (Rusvelo) and Kevin Seeldraeyers (Wanty) to form an 8-rider group that was finally allowed to build an advantage.


The octet had to work hard to increase their gap as Bardiani was chasing, with Enrico Battaglin doing a lot of work. As the gap stayed around 20 seconds, Dennis Van Niekerk (MTN-Qhubeka) and  Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli) managed to bridge the gap while Davide Formolo (Cannondale), Alessio Taliani (Androni), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Jacques van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) and Paolo Ciavatta (Aero Zero) formed a chase group.


The fast pace now made the peloton explode to pieces while lots of new attacks were launched. Suddenly a group with Formolo, Moser, Villella, Dupont, Gastauer, Bidard, Pellizotti, Taliani, Zilioli, Battaglin, Bongiorno, Zardini, Finetto, Monsalve, Rebellin, Mikhaylov, Honkisz, Arroyo, Txurruka, Madrazo, Vigano, Firsanov, Janse Van Rensburg, Van Niekerk, De Greef, Baugnies, Seeldraeyers, Tedeschi and Ciavatta had formed and they managed to build an advantage of 50 seconds.


The Colombia pair of Miguel Rubiano and Chalapud tried to bridge the gap but they didn’t make the junction. Instead, Firsanov, Zilioli and van Rensburg attacked out of the lead group which failed to cooperate and after 85km of racing, that group was brought back.


The peloton finally slowed down, allowing the front trio to extend their advantage. While Cannondale set the tempo, the gap reached 7.50 when Zilioli led his companions across the line at the top of the climb.


Cannondale kept the gap at around 8 minutes for a long time before Lampre-Merida joined them on the front. That had an effect as they gap reached 6.30 before the situation was again stabilized.


Firsanov was first at the top of the Badolo climb and the front trio still had an advantage of around 6.00 bu the time they were back in Bologna for the first passage of San Luca with 50km to go. As soon as they started to climb, Firsanov was dropped and at the top, he was already 1.00 behind.


In the peloton, Moreno Moser was doing most of the work for Cannondale and he led the peloton across the finish line with a deficit of 3.33. The group had now split to pieces, leaving just 15 riders in the main bunch.


Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) was one of the riders to have been dropped but on the descent, the group again swelled to 50 riders. Marco Garcia (Caja Rural) attacked on the descent but he was caught a few moments later


At the bottom of San Luca, Lampre and Neri Sottoli took over the pace-setting before Madrazo, Durasek, Rebellin and Bongiorno attacked. While Zilioli dropped van Rensburg, they were joined by Formolo, Villella, Pellizotti and Meintjes before Durasek fell off the pace.


At the top of the climb, they were 2.57 behind the two leaders and 20 seconds ahead of the peloton. However, things came back together on the descent while van Rensburg constantly lost ground to Zilioli.


The next time up the climb, Rebellin and Garcia attacked and they were joined by Villella, Pellizotti, Bongiorno, Zardini, Formolo and Madrazo. At the next passage of the line, they were 2.05 behind Zilioli while van Rensburg was at 1.45.


Garcia was dropped from the chase group which caught van Rensburg who was unable to follow their pace. Bidard, Meintjes and Txurruka joined from behind to form a 10-rider chase group on the descent.


Villella suffered an unfortunate puncture on the descent while Bidard, Txurruka and Meintjes were dropped. The chase group hit the climb for the penultimate time with a deficit of 1.57 while the main group was at 2.30.


Zardini set a hard pace in the six-rider chase group and before Formolo launched an attack. He crested the summit with a deficit of 55 seconds but was brought back on the descent.


With 5km to go, the gap was down to just 26 seconds and as he started the final climb, Zilioli was only 18 seconds ahead. Madrazo launched an immediate attack and he quickly passed Zilioli who was also caught by the chasers.


With 1km to go, Madrazo was 20 seconds ahead but now the attacking started. Bongiorno made a strong acceleration that only Rebellin could respond to.


Rebellin countered the move and set off in lone pursuit of Madrazo. Inside the finale 500m, he passed the fading Spaniard while Pellizotti had dropped the rest of the chase group, with Bongiorno and Zardini following a little further back. Rebellin held on to take the win while Madrazo completed a great showing by taking second ahead of Pellizotti.


Tomorrow the Italian season comes to a close with the GP Beghelli which suits a different kind of riders. While today was a race for the sprinters, tomorrow will be a day for fast riders that can overcome the many passages of the Zappolino climb.



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