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Italian gets important confidence boost ahead of the Vattenfall Cyclassics by winning the Dutch Food Valley Classics in a mass sprint

Photo: Sirotti




23.08.2013 @ 19:47 Posted by Malte Philbert Jessen

Elia Viviani (Cannondale) emerged as the fastest when the flat Dutch Food Valley Classics came down to the expected bunch kick this evening. Having used his strong team to chase down a big 14-rider break, the Italian powered down the flat finishing straight and held off Danilo Napolitano ( and Kenny Van Hummel (Vacansoleil) to take his 5th win of the season.


Elia Viviani has set his sight on success in Sunday's big WorldTour race Vattenfall Cyclassics and today he got an important confidence boost ahead of his objective when he won the flat Dutch Food Valley Classics. The Italian held off Danilo Napolitano and Kenny Van Hummel in the expected bunch sprint.


Viviani and Napolitano justly rewarded their teams for a huge chase effort that had spelled the end of the chances for a big strong 14-rider breakaway that had dominated most of the stage. The final escapee, Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen), was caught inside the final 10km and from there it was high-speed finish to the race.


The win was Viviani's fifth of the season. The Italian had a slow start but got his season going with a stage win in the Criterium du Dauphiné. Since then he has won two stages and the overall at the Tour of Elk Grove and today's win marks him out as one of the big favourites for Sunday's big German race.


A very fast start

The 195km race was held in the Netherlands which is mostly flat and so it is no surprise that the race has always suited sprinters. Only the wind could potentially split things up a bit but on a sunny day, the crosswinds never came into play. The race finished with 3 laps on a 10km finishing circuit in Rhenen.


The race was off to a really fast start. Early in the race Glenn O'Shea (An Post), Ronan Van Zandbeek (De Rijke), Jasper Hamelink (Jo Piels),  Steven Lammertink (Jo Piels), Fraser Gough(Doltcini) and Benjamin Sydlik (Nutrixxion) got clear while Arno Van Der Zwet (Koga), Dylan Groenewegen (De Rijke) and Jesper Asselman (Metec) set off in pursuit.


All back together

However, the peloton had no intention of letting that group go clear and so they quickly reeled in the chasers. The early part of the stage developed into a furious chase between the main group and the escapees with the bunch coming out on top. With 40km to go, it was all back together.


Wallays was the next to attack and he was joined by Rens Te Stroet (Jo Piels), Marc Goos (Belkin) and Mark McNally (An Post). Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil), Bram Nolten (Doltcini), Bart Van Haaren (Koga), Michael Vingerling (3M), Lars Van Der Haahr (the Netherlands) and Twan Van Den Brand (the Netherlands) also made it across to form a very strong 10-rider group.


4 rider bridge across

For a long time, William Clarke (Argos), Tim Declercq (Topsport Vlaanderen), Van Zandbeek and Dries Hollanders (Metec) were in pursuit and the 4-rider group made an impressive job to make it across. Suddenly, 14 riders were up the road and Cannondale and Accent were both missing.


Hence, the two teams combined forces to chase down the group and they kept the gap stable at around 3 minutes for most of the day. As they got closer to the finish, they accelerated further and when they hit the finishing circuit, the gap was down to less than a minute.


The breakaway splits up

With the peloton breathing down their necks, the escapees started to attack each other. Hollanders was the first to try but it was the countermove from Wallays and McNally that was successful.


Accent and Cannondale picked up their former companions but it was now clear that a sprint finish was inevitable. McNally gap up and fell back to the peloton while Wallays continued on his own. He made it onto the final lap but the peloton had everything under control and brought back the lone escapee.


Hence, all was set for a big bunch sprint and Viviani didn't disappoint his teammates. The main question is now whether he can repeat his success on Sunday.



1. Elia Viviani

2. Danilo Napolitano

3. Kenny Van Hummek



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