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After an aggressive race, Colbrelli came out on top in the 30-rider sprint that decided the final Italian race of 2015, GP Beghelli; Belletti was second and Ferrari third

Photo: Sirotti

BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE

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GP BEGHELLI

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MANUEL BELLETTI

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ROBERTO FERRARI

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SONNY COLBRELLI

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11.10.2015 @ 18:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) finally ended his string of near-misses in his last attempt when he managed to add the final Italian race, GP Beghelli, to his palmares. After a very aggressive race, it all came down to a 30-rider sprint and here he beat Manuel Belletti (Southeast) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) into the minor podium positions.

 

Last year Sonny Colbrelli was flying in the second half of the year and as he won both Memorial Marco Pantani and GP de Prato before he went on to lead Italy at the World Championships. Back in Italy, he ended the season on a high as he also added the Coppa Sabatini to his palmares.

 

This year Colbrelli was aiming for a similarly strong end to his season and things were looking good when he won a stage and the overall at the Tour de Limousing at the end of the year. However, he was unable to reach the same heights in the Italian one-day races and this time he was only a reserve for the World Championships.

 

Going into the final race, GP Beghelli, Colbrelli had finished third, fifth, sixth, sixth and tenth in various Italian one-day races in September and October and now only had one shot left if he wanted to add another win to his palmares. Luckily things came together for the Bardiani sprinter as he emerged as the fastest in the 30-rider sprint that decided the race.

 

The race finished with 10 laps of a 13.3km circuit that included the short Zappolino climb (1600m, 7%) 8.2km from a flat finish. That made it a perfect race to target for a strong sprinter like Colbrelli but it was no easy thing to keep things together. With 61km to go, the early break was caught and this set the scene for lots of attacks.

 

Southeast set the pacek with Matteo Busato and Francesco Gavazzi before Bardiani took over and they made the group slightly split, with a group containing Antonio Parrinello (D’Amico) trailing by 10 seconds at the next passage of the line. Eduard Grosu (Nippo), Miguel Rubiano (Colombia), Matteo Busato (Southeast) and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani) got a small advantage and were joined by Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), Romain Campistrous (Ag2r), Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural), Reinier Honig (Roompot), Sergey Firsanov (Rusvelo), Simone Petilli (Uniero) and Luca Capelli (Idea) to form an 11-rider break. The gap quickly went out to 30 seconds before CCC started to chase hard.

 

CCC slowly brought the gap down and managed to bring it back together with 45km to go. That only set the scene for new attacks and again Campistrous and Busato were part of the action. The pair was joined by Maurits Lammertink (Roompot) and Gianfranco Zilioli (Androni) and the four escapees quickly got an advantage of 16 seconds.

 

Lampre-Merida and CCC started to chase but were losing ground as the gap reached 28 seconds as they approached the start of the 8th lap. However, they had reduced their deficit to 18 seconds as they crossed the line.

 

Colombia joined forces with Lampre-Merida and that was enough to bring the break back at the 160km mark. Przemyslaw Niemiec was setting the pace for the Italian team but he was unable to prevent Hubert Dupont (Ag2r) and Christophe Laborie (Bretagne) from escaping.

 

The duo was quickly brought back and so it was compact peloton that entered the final 30km. Eduard Grosu (Nippo) was the next to give it a try and he had pushed out an advantage of 14 seconds as he started the penultimate lap. Bardiani did the first chase effort but it was Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia), and Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural) who led the group across the line.

 

Lampre-Merida went back to work and managed to bring Grosu back on the climb where Pierre-Roger Latour (Ag2r) led Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani) and Mike Terpstra (Roompot) over the top. Caja Rural took over in the 60-rider group as they went down the descent.

 

The Spanish team was still in charge as they started the final lap but Lampre-Merida, Ag2r and Rusvelo started to move up as they approached the climb. Here Latour launched a strong attack and while he failed to get clear, the peloton exploded.

 

Unsurprisingly, Jan Bakelants (Ag2r) tried to attack on the descent and he was joined by Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida). He managed to distance the defending champion but it was all in vain as he was brought back by a 30-rider group.

 

The fast pace made it impossible for anyone to escape and so it came down to a reduced bunch sprint. Bardiani hit the front and managed to position Colbrelli perfectly. The Italian beat Manuel Belletti and Roberto Ferrari into the minor podium positions to take the third win of his season

 

With the GP Beghelli done and dusted, the Italian racing season is over. There are just two races left in Europe before the season winds down: Tuesday’s Nationale Sluitiprijs in Belgium and Sunday’s time trial GP de Nations in France.

 

A tricky course

The 2015 GP Beghelli was held ona 196.3km course around the city of Monteveglio. First the rider travelled along flat roads to a flat circuit around the city of Vignola that they would cover twice. From there they would continue along flat roads to the main 13.3km circuit that they would do 10 times at the end of the race. It contained the short Zappolino climb (1600m, 7%) 8.2km from the finish and from there it was a short descent and a flat run back to the finish in Monteveglio.

 

Unlike yesterday, it was a sunny day in Italy when the riders gathered for the start. There were several non-starters as Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r), Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne), Etienne van Empel (Roompot) and Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) were all absent as they rolled out for their neutral ride.

 

Lots of attacks

As it is customary in Italian one-day races, it was a fast start with lots of attacks as the riders travelled at high speed along the flat roads in the beginning of the race. Bardiani and CCC were among the most active teams alongside Colombia who also featured prominently. However, no one had managed to escape after 10km of racing.

 

Stefan Pirazzi (Bardiani) was the first to get a significant advantage at the 15km mark but 3km later he was brought back. Fabio Duarte (Colombia) was the next to try but he had no luck either. Hence, things were still together at the 23km mark.

 

A big crash

A big crash that involved Oscar Gatto (Androni), Ivan Savitskiy, Artem Nych (Rusvelo), Pirazzi, Manuel Bongiorno, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani), Sander Helven (Topsport), Sjoerd van Ginneken (Roompot) and Jan Bakelants (Ag2r) split the field and caused some confusion in the group. This allowed Jef van Meirhaeghe (Topsport) and Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka) to escape at the 27km mark and they quickly got an advantage of 28 seconds. Helven and Bongiorno both abandoned.

 

While riders returned to the peloton after the crash, the gap went out to 1.02 at the 30km mark. Van Meirhaeghe beat Kudus in the intermediate sprint and Sebastian Stamegna (GM) was first from the peloton 3.23 later.

 

MG.Kvis take control

At the 40km mark, the gap was 4.47 and it reached 5.40 before Southeast started to chase. They slowly brought the gap down to 4.30 after an hour of racing.

 

The two escapees were still 4.20 ahead after 57km of racing and it was kept stable around 4.30 or a while. MG.Kvis took over the pace-setting and they had brought the gap down to 4.02 at the first passage of the finish line.

 

Lots of work by Giampaolo

Moreno Giampaolo set the pace for the small continental team and he slowly brought the gap down to 3.35 before Lampre-Merida took over. They led the group across the line at the 83km mark with a delay of 3.23.

 

MG.Kvis went back to work but it was a Colombia rider who set the pace as they went up Zappolino again. After the top, Gampaolo again took over, keeping the gap between 3.00 and 3.30.

 

Kudus wins KOM sprint

Kudus won the KOM sprint during the third passage of the climb while Giampaolo led the peloton across the line 2.49 later. The Italian was riding fast and had brought the gap down to just 2.22 at the 100km mark.

 

Eugert Zhupa (Southeast) took over the pace-setting and led the peloton across the line at the end of the third lap, 2.15 behind the leaders. Giampaolo got back and led the group to the finish at the end of the next lap where the gap was 2.30.

 

The break is caught

Colombia decided that it was time to up the pace and Southeast were inspired by their initiative. The Italian team accelerated significantly and managed to slightly split the group. At the 129km mark, they had brought the gap down to 1.02 and it was only 57 seconds at the start of the sixth lap.

 

Zhupa was doing the damage and he set the pace until Lampre-Merida took over. The Italian team continued to gain ground but it was Nippo-Vini Fantini who did a lot of damage as they hit the climb, bringing the gap down to just 12 seconds as they approached the top. Moments later the junction was made and in the end it was Colbrelli who came away with the victory.

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