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Launching a powerful sprint from fourth position, Mareczko emerged as the fastest on stage 3 of Settimana Coppi e Bartali, holding off Gavazzi and Tamouridis; Firsanov retained the lead

Photo: Jérémy-Günther-Heinz Jähnick

COPPI E BARTALI

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GAZPROM - RUSVELO

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IOANNIS TAMOURIDIS

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MATTIA GAVAZZI

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SERGEY FIRSANOV

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VINI ZABU KTM

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26.03.2016 @ 18:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jakub Mareczko (Southeast) confirmed that he is the next Italian top sprinter by taking the win in the prestigious high-speed sprint on the flat third stage of Settimana Coppi e Bartali. The Italian launched a powerful sprint from fourth position and easily held off Mattia Gavazzi (Amore e Vita) and Ioannis Tamouridis (Synergy Baku). Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) retained the lead.

 

When he turned professional for the 2015, Jakub Mareczko was regarded as the next Italian top sprinter. He has a slow start to his career but by dominating the Asian races towards the end of the season, he started to live up to expectations.

 

This year he has fully confirmed his status, most notably by beating current Italian sprint star Elia Viviani at the Tour de San Luis, albeit under controversial circumstances as he was expected to do the lead-out for Viviani. Since then he has beaten Andrea Guardini in Langkawi and today he won one of the most prestigious Italian sprint, the flat third stage of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

 

After yesterday’s hilly stage, the riders were back in flat terrain for stage 3 which was set to bring them over 172km from Calderara di Reno to Crevalcore. After a descending first part, the riders were set to tackle 9 laps of a flat 12.2km circuit in the finishing city where everybody expected the sprinters to come to the fore. However, a late decision was made to reduce the number of laps to 8, meaning that the overall distance was only 159.8km.

 

It was another great day for a bike race when the riders gathered for the start, and the 181-rider peloton got it off to a furious opening phase. After 20km of racing, no one had managed to get clear and the attacking continued for more than an hour. That made it difficult for Michele Scartezzini (MG Kvis) to rejoin the peloton after a puncture.

 

Adam De Vos (Rally) took off in a promising solo move and he was joined by Liam Holohan (Wiggins), Fabio Tommassini (D’Amico), Nicola Gaffurini (MG Kvis), Francisco Mancebo (Skydive), Jon Bozic (Adria Mobil) and Andruy Vaylyuk (Kolss) to form a 7-rider break. The peloton finally decided to take a breather and when they crossed the finish line for the first time, the escapees had pushed the gap out to 3.20.

 

The gap reached a maximum of 3.50 but at the end of the first lap, it was again down to 3.30. The peloton left nothing to chance and after another lap, it was already down to 2.38. The escapees lost another 20 seconds during the third lap and it was only 1.30 after four of the eight laps.

 

With 3 laps to go, the gap had dropped to less than a minute and it was the Italian national team that was working hard for Matteo Pelucchi. At the start of the penultimate lap, it was down to just 40 seconds and the Italian team didn’t slow down despite the lack of assistance.

 

At the start of the final lap, the escapees were still 26 seconds ahead and the national team had a hard time bringing them back. Filippo Ganna took some huge turns to reduce it to 18 seconds at the 10km to go mark and six kilometres later, it was all over for the leaders.

 

Christina Jewelry hit the front but were passed by Nippo-Vini Fantini who did the perfect lead-out for Daniele Colli. However, the Italian faded as soon as the sprint was launched and it was Mareczko who came flying from fourth position to easily hold off Mattia Gavazzi (Amore & Vita) and Ioannis Tamouridis (Synergy Baku) to claim the third win of his season.

 

Sergey Firsanov finished safely in the  bunch and so retained his 7-second advantage over Mauro Finetto (Uniero). He faces a very tough final day in the saddle as stage 4 is probably the hardest of the race. After a relatively easy first part, the riders face three big climbs in the second half of the stage. The final summit comes just 8.5km from the finish and from there it is a flat run to the finish, meaning that everything is still up for grabs right until the end of the race.

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