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Having escaped with Nocentini on the final climb, Caruso beat his companion in the uphill sprint to take the biggest win of his career; his teammates Moreno and Rodriguez both finished in the top 5 on great day for Katusha

Photo: Sirotti

GIAMPAOLO CARUSO

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MILANO-TORINO

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RINALDO NOCENTINI

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01.10.2014 @ 15:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Giampaolo Caruso took the biggest win of his career when he completed a dominant Katusha showing by winning Milan-Turin. Having escaped with Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) on the final climb to the finish, he won the uphill sprint while his teammate Daniel Moreno emerged as the strongest in the battle for the final podium spot, holding off Fabio Aru (Astana) and another Katusha rider, Joaquim Rodriguez.

 

Usually known as the loyal domestqiue who always sacrifices himself completely for Joaquim Rodriguez, Giampaolo Caruso got a rare chance to shine when he won Milan-Turin, Italy’s oldest one-day race. The win comes at the culmination of some strong showings by the Italian in the Vuelta a Espana and Worlds road race.

 

The race finished on the top of the steep 5km climb to Basilica di Superga and Caruso was given the task of anticipating main favourites Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Fabio Aru. Attacking with Rinaldo Nocentini, he bridged across to teammate Sergei Chernetskii who sacrificed himself before dropping off the pace.

 

Inside the final kilometre, Caruso accelerated again and this time Nocentini had no response. While Caruso crossed the line for the biggest win of his career, his teammate Daniel Moreno beat the favourites to take the final spot on the podium, holding off Aru, team leader Rodriguez and Contador.

 

The 95th edition of Milan-Turin was held on a 193.5km from Milan to a summit finish on the climb to the Basilica di Superga on the outskirts of Turin. The first 170km were completely flat and preceded the final showdown on the tough 5km climb to the finish. The riders first reached the top of the ascent after around 175km of racing before they tackled a short 18km finishing circuit that brought them down a gradual descent before they again hit the bottom of the climb that was expected to bring the race to an exciting end.

 

Due to a farmers’ protest, the riders took a delayed start under a cloudy sky but luckily the roads were all dry. As it is usually the case in Italian one-day races, the pace was very fast from the beginning. It took 38km of attacking on the flat roads in the Po Valley before the early break was finally allowed to take off.

 

When the elastic snapped, Jerome Pineau (IAM), Lorenzo Rota (MG Kvis), Nicola Dal Santo (Nankang) and Gianluca Leonardi (Aero Zero) had gone clear and while the peloton took a short breather, they started to build an advantage. At the 45km mark, they were already 3.55 ahead and after 50km of racing, they had extended their advantage to 5.50.

 

The gap reached a maximum of 6 minutes before Fabio Aru’s Astana team took control. For a long time, Jacopo Guarnieri worked hard on the front to keep the gap stable just below the 5-minute mark on a day when the riders did the first two hours at an average speed of more than 47kph.

 

At the 100km mark, the gap had dropped to 3.45 and the downward trend continued until it reached 2.40. Astana stopped their work but when the gap had gone back up to 4 minutes, Alberto Contador put his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates on the front.

 

Astana joined the Kazakh team and they combined forces to gradually reduce their deficit. At the 131km mark, the gap was only 2.20 and after 163km of racing, the escapees were only 1.30 ahead.

 

With 25km to go, the gap was just 25 seconds but the four attackers reached the bottom of the Superga climb with a tiny bit of their advantage intact. On the lower slopes, Pineau attacked and while he pressed on alone, his former companions were all caught.

 

Pineau didn’t stay clear form long and after 172km of racing, the peloton was back together. The hard pace meant that just 50 riders were left as they approached the summit of the climb.

 

Dario Cataldo (Sky), Julian Arredondo (Trek), Alberto Losada (Katusha) and Diego Rosa (Androni) attacked near the top. While Cataldo fell off the pace, Rosa attacked again, left his companions behind and crested the summit with an advantage of 18 seconds over the peloton.

 

In the peloton, Tinkoff-Saxo were still on the front while Fabrice Jeandesboz (Europcar) set off in pursuit. With 15km to go, Rosa was 14 seconds ahead of the Frenchman and 24 seconds ahead of the peloton.

 

Frank Schleck (Trek) and Losada joined Jeandesboz but their effort was a short one. With 10km to go, the chasers were caught and instead Fabio Felline (Trek) managed to bridge the gap to Rosa.

 

With 5km to go, the pair were 5 seconds ahead but as they hit the final climb, Tinkoff-Saxo had brought them back. Moments later, Sergei Chernetskii (Katusha) launched a strong attack and immediately got an advantage.

 

With 3km to go, the diminished peloton with Aru, Contador and Rosa was 20 seconds behind the Russian who rode strongly to increase his advantage. Schleck, Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) launched an attack from the main group and they started to approach the lone leader.

 

While Schleck fell off the pace, Nocentini and Caruso bridged the gap. Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo were still leading the chase but at the red kite, they were still 18 seconds behind.

 

While Davide Rebellin (CCC) made repeated attacks, Chernetskii was dropped from the front group, leaving just two riders to try to keep the favourites at bay. They succeeded, with Caruso beating Nocentini with an acceleration inside the final kilometre.

 

Many of the riders in today’s race will be back in action on Sunday in the biggest of the Italian autumn classics, Il Lombardia.

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