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" I really suffered to keep up with Sinkewitz as I must admit that he was stronger than me on the climb. I did my best and bet it all on the two-rider sprint. Sinkewitz tried to anticipate by doing a long sprint," Serps says

Photo: Sirotti

JOSE RODOLFO SERPA PEREZ

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TROFEO LAIGUEGLIA

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21.02.2014 @ 22:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jose Serpa continued Lampre-Merida's excellent start to the season when he won today's Trofeo Laigueglia by beating Patrik Sinkewitz in a two-rider sprint. The Colombian admitted that his German companion had been the strongest climber and was happy to take his first win for the team after joining them in 2013.

 

Sacha Modolo and Diego Ulissi have already made it a fantastic start to the season for Lampre-Merida and today the team took another win when Jose Serpa opened their account on home soil. In the second race of the Italian season, the Trofeo Laigueglia, the Colombian emerged as the strongest.

 

A revised course saw the riders tackle four hard climbs during the 181.2km but a flat run-in to the finish meant that most expected a sprint from a reduced peloton. However, Serpa had different plans and so he went on the attack right from the bottom of the day's final climb.

 

The Colombian was joined by Patrik Sinkewitz and Matteo Rabottini (YellowFluo) and while the latter was unable to keep up with his companions, Serpa and Sinkewitz were flying. When they crested the summit of the climb, they were 30 seconds ahead of the peloton which had been whittled down to just 10 riders.

 

While the peloton took some time to regroup into a 25-rider group, the gap grew to more than a minute. Colombia finally organized a chase and started to bring back the escapees but Serpa's teammates Damiano Cunego, Przemyslaw Niemiec and Diego Ulissi did an excellent job disrupting their work.

 

With 5km to go, Serpa and Sinkewitz were still 30 seconds ahead and as they still had a similar gap with 1km to go, it all came down to a two-rider sprint. Serpa proved his background on the track by holding off Sinkewitz while Andrea Pasqualon (Aero Zero) led home the peloton 12 seconds later.

 

"I'm really happy and proud of my first victory in the Lampre Merida jersey," Serpa said. "The team really have me confidence by controlling and disrupting the group behind me. I really suffered to keep up with Sinkewitz as I must admit that he was stronger than me on the climb. i did my best and bet it all on the two-rider sprint. Sinkewitz tried to anticipate by doing a long sprint. At that point I only though about the tremendous job my teammates had done and this gave me the energy needed to beat my rival in the last few metres.

 

Sports director Daniele Righi made his debut in today's race and could not have wished a better start.

 

"I must admit that this is a better start to my career than I could imagine," he said. "This morning at the technical meeting with the guys, I was really excited and i think that I gave the riders the right motivation to do well in the race. The team did a tremendous work today and a super Serpa finished it off. As long as the radio had not said Serpa's name, I was incredulous. Then the joy was truly immense."

 

Ulissi finished 5th in the race to complete the Lampre-Merida dominance.

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