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"I  know these roads, not just the finish, by heart. Andrea Fedi and Matteo Busato protected me and brought me to the finale, then I took over. This year I started with more peace of mind to be fit for the Giro."

Photo: Sirotti

AMORE & VITA-SELLA SMP

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ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI

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COPPI E BARTALI

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DANNY VAN POPPEL

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FRANCO PELLIZOTTI

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MANUEL BELLETTI

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MATTEO PELUCCHI

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MATTIA GAVAZZI

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MAURO FINETTO

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MIKEL LANDA

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VINI ZABU KTM

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24.03.2016 @ 23:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After Manuel Belletti (Southeast) had won the morning sprint stage, Gazprom-Rusvelo made use of all their track experience to claim a dominant victory in the special team time trial at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali. In a stage where the teams were split into two 4-rider teams, Alexander Serov, Arthur Ershov, Artem Ovechkin and Kirill Sveshnikov were 12 seconds faster than the Rally team and 13 seconds faster than Uniero which was enough to put Ershov into the overall lead.

 

We have gathered a few reactions.

 

Manuel Belletti after first win: This year I have more peace in mind

Manuel Belletti won the morning stage.

 

"I focused on the Sy train and got on Van Poppel’s wheel,” he told Tuttobiweb. “It was the right choice. I know these roads, not just the finish, by heart. Andrea Fedi and Matteo Busato protected me and brought me to the finale, then I took over. This year I started with more peace of mind to be fit for the Giro. Now I start to feel good and this proves it.  I will go to the Three Days of De Panne and will then do the Tour of Flanders , the Brabantse Pijl and the Giro dell’Appenninno. Afraid to return to Belgium? Between airports and roads, riders are always vulnerable."

 

Matteo Pelucchi frustrated after second place in comeback race

Matteo Pelucchi was second in the morning stage

 

“I'm not happy with my performance,” he told Tuttobiciweb. “I was too far back, a bit boxed in and a bit slow. I struggled to recover positions. I should have been closer to the front, maybe on Belletti’s wheel. So I had nothing left and even though I got closer, it was not enough to win. But second place means I am competitive despite a break of more than two weeks. My teammates, those of the Italian national team, are young but talented. They already know what they need to do in a finish like this." 

 

Mattia Gavazzi eyes revenge after third place in first race of the year

Mattia Gavazzi was third in the morning stage.

 

"If you remember that it's the first race of my season, I should be happy,” he told Tuttobiciweb. “But when you get so close to victory, you can never be happy. And then I look forward to Saturday, Crevalcore, revenge.”

 

Danny Van Poppel close to victory, solid start for Mikel Landa

Danny van Poppel sits eighth overall at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali after a split stage on the opening day of action.

 

The Dutchman sprinted to fourth on stage 1a, while his four-man time trial team finished eighth in the afternoon's race against the clock.

 

The 22 year old had looked like he might take the first win of the day but was overhauled by Manuel Belletti (Southeast - Venezuela) just metres from the line. 

 

After swapping his DOGMA for his Bolide, Van Poppel then tackled the 13.3km team time trial with Phil Deignan, David Lopez and Alex Peters, and the quartet finished 19 seconds down on the triumphant Gazprom Rusvelo. 

 

Sebastian Henao, Mikel Landa, Gianni Moscon and Xabier Zandio meanwhile, finished the afternoon TTT in 10th position.

 

Sport Director Kurt-Asle Arvesen praised the team's performance and was upbeat about Van Poppel's form as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

 

He said: "We had a really good morning stage. We were represented in all the early breaks with Zandio and Lopez, then four guys went away so we controlled the race.

 

"We made it hard on the 3km finishing circuit with a steep climb, and at one point there was a lot of groups all over the road while we were well placed, out of trouble. 

 

"We led Danny out till the end and he had a good go, but maybe started his sprint a little early. He is feeling good though, and he was not happy this morning! He thought he had the stage. That's a good sign."

 

Arvesen added: "This afternoon both teams did fairly well. A lot of the guys are coming back from illness and injury so they're missing a little bit of speed, but there was no drama.

 

Landa is racing in a Team Sky jersey for the first time and Arvesen explained that there are no expectations being placed on the Spaniard.

 

"We have Sebastian for GC and hopefully Gianni can go for a stage. We are leaving it a little open for the other guys to have free roles and we will see where Mikel is without any pressure.

 

"He's happy to be back in the bunch after a long period off. He looks very good. There's a big peloton here, 200 riders, and that makes it a bit of a challenge, so after this race he'll have good racing kilometres in his legs."

 

Triumphant Gazprom-Rusvelo: Russia have always been strong in the team time trials

Gazprom-Rusvelo sports director Alexander Kuchinskiy commented on the victory in the team time trial:

 

“Russia has always been strong in the team race, and we decided to put our bets on this specific stage. The racers approached this task very responsibly — the rest was a matter of technique. The guys rode conservatively during the first half-stage, gearing up for the team race where they gave it all they had. In terms of next steps, up next is the mountain stage, where the second half of our riders — racers who trained at high altitudes in Sicily — will enter the battle. We will put in our maximal effort because this race is one of the key preparatory stages before the Giro".

 

Uniero takes impressive third place in Coppi e Bartali team time trial

Uniero took a surprise third in the team time trial to put Mauro Finetto in a good position overall.

 

"We are delighted with this podium in a race of the highest category. The boys were strong.  Frapporti, Ravanelli, Tecchio and Salvador delivered a good performance and the first team has really exceeded out expectations. In the last two weeks we had prepared to do well in this race, trying to select the equipment and mechanisms that is necessary for a group effort of this kind," said team manager Marco Milesi.

 

"We knew we could do well,” says Mauro Finetto. “We had already understood this in training."

 

"It is better to lose 13" than to lose by a small margin,” said Alessandro Malaguti.

 

In the first half-stage this morning,  Davide Plebani   finished seventh in the bunch sprint that decided the race and took the white jersey which he lost in the afternoon. 


"I am happy with this good result that proves my good condition. In recent races, I could not reap the desired results despite my good legs, but at this stage race both me and my mates want to show what we are worth. To be with the pros is always a great stimulus for a guy of my age. I will strive to keep the jersey on my shoulders and to help our captain Mauro Finetto to do well in the general classification," said the 19- year-old from Bergamo.

 

Bad luck takes Franco Pellizotti out of contention in Coppi e Bartali

Misfortune was ruthless against Androni Sidermec that lost two important riders for a good result in the race dedicated to the two great champions. In fact, after just two hours of racing in the morning stage, captain Franco Pellizotti and Alessio Taliani were involved in a crash and suffered a dislocation of the shoulder and an elbow fracture respectively. With the character that distinguishes the team, the quartet of Marco Frapporti, Francesco Gavazzi, Egan Bernal and Rodolfo Torres immediately responded to the misfortune and took an important sixth place in the team time trial.

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