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"I had mononucleosis, I was set back for five months. Of course I was riding slowly but not to exhaust myself. Today I am relieved, I'm fine and I hope to continue like this. The victory is a rebirth for me."

Photo: Sirotti






19.08.2015 @ 00:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) finally took a long overdue first 2015 win when he emerged as the strongest in the uphill sprint on stage 1 of the Tour du Limousin. After a late attacker was caught with around 2km to go, he held off Andrea Pasqualon (Roth Skoda) and Timothy Dupont (Roubaix) on the uphill drag to the line and is so also the first leader of the race.


The 2014 season was a breakthrough for Sonny Colbrelli who confirmed his status as one of the best puncheurs in the peloton by dominating the Italian one-day scene in the second half of the year. In fact, his condition was so good that he got the chance to lead the Italian team at the Worlds.


Much was expected from Colbrelli in 2015 but nothing has gone to plan for the Bardiani rider who has been unable to confirm his progress. The Giro d’Italia was a big disappointment and so it is again the second half of the season that will be his chance to shine.


With some good sprints in the Tour of Utah, Colbrelli had finally showed signs of form when he lined up for the Tour du Limousin whose lumpy course and many uphill sprints are tailor-made for his characteristics. The race turns out to be a happy hunting ground for him as he came out on top in today’s opening stage.


”I’m very happy with the first victory of this season after several placings and some bad luck in the first part of 2015," he said. "I came out of the Tour of Utah with good legs and I was able to use them at the first opportunity.


"The route today was really demanding, full of ups and downs. Also I went down with 20km to go, fortunately without injury. Then in the last part, my teammates were perfect in taking control of the peloton and on the final straight, Battaglin led me out with the perfect timing and for me everything was simpler.


"This is an important victory because I had a tough year. I had mononucleosis, I was set back for five months. Of course I was riding slowly but not to exhaust myself. Today I am relieved, I'm fine and I hope to continue like this. The victory is a rebirth for me.


"I crashed less than 20 kilometers from the finish with four other riders. But luckily, the front group was not going fast, I was able to quickly get back. I was afraid of not being able to return to the front because I had a little pain in the knee. The roads were very narrow in the final and suddenly I hit the ground. I was a bit upset and I wanted to show that I was still there despite the crash.


"This is one of the most important victories. I am very happy to win especially in France.


"It's my first win of the year, I finished second in a stage ten days ago in the Tour of Utah. I am very happy, the team did a great job today. The guys brought me back when I came down with Manuel Belletti, twenty kilometers from the line. I only have a few bruises on the left elbow, it's not something that will annoy me in the sprints. At the passage of the line, I saw that the finish was perfect for me. I love when it ends with a litle climb. 


"I do not think about the overall standings, tomorrow's stage will be complicated with a lot of difficulties. I think that the finished will be a little too hard for me. We will still defend the jersey as the Tour du Limousin is a great race, very tiring. I'll take the days one after the other.


"I know it will be complicated to defend the lead because there are serious opponents and favorites and I am not necessarily one of them but I hope to stay in yellow. We'll see tomorrow and the following days."


”Congratulations to Sonny and the whole squad that delivered a great performance in a tricky stage like this. We have started the Tour du Limousin in the perfect way and now we must continue," sports director Mirko Rossato said.



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