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After attacking relentlessly, Nibali was part of a six-rider group that held off the peloton and finally made a solo move to win Coppa Bernocchi; Finetto and Trentin completed the podium

Photo: Sirotti










17.09.2015 @ 16:40 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a second place in the Coppa Agostoni, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) confirmed that he is ready for a great end to the season by winning the second race in the Trittico Lombardo race series, Coppa Bernocchi. After attacking relentlessly, he joined a six-rider group that kept the peloton at bay and finally he accelerated inside the final kilometre to take a solo win. Mauro Finetto (Southeast) beat Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep) in the sprint for second.


When Vincenzo Nibali was disqualified from the Vuelta a Espana, many believed that it would be hard for the former Tour champion to find the motivation for the final part of the season. However, he has proved his critics wrong right from his first races back and has suddenly marked himself out as a dark horse for the Worlds and a favourite for Il Lombardia.


Yesterday he finished seconds behind Davide Rebellin (CCC) in his first race back, Coppa Agostoni, after the pair had held off the chasers with an impressive performance. Today he surprised even more by taking a solo win in the second race in the Trittico Lombardo series, the Coppa Bernocchi which has traditionally been a race for sprinters.


The course was mostly flat but included seven passages of the Piccolo Stelvio climb before the riders travelled along flat roads for the final 30km. Nibali made his move during the final passage at a point when Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18), Edward Ravasi (Lampre-Merida), Emanuele Sella, Sergei Tvetcov (Androni) and Frederic Brun (Bretagne) were leading the race.


The war started when Nibali, Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) and Maciej Paterski (CCC) attacked from the peloton. While they approached the leaders, Ravasi was dropped and later Brun was also distanced.


Nibali and Paterski dropped Tiralongo and later the Pole also fell off the pace. While Brun rejoined the leaders, Tiralongo and Paterski joined forces with Ravasi.


Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani), Enrico Gasparooto (Wanty) and Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka) were the next to attack. They made it up to Tiralongo who had dropped Paterski and Ravasi and they finally made it back to Nibali too. Further back, a 15-rider group had formed.


The Nibali group caught the front quartet at a time when the first peloton was 16 seconds behind after a regrouping had taken place and increased the size to 60 riders. The gap was unchanged with 31km to go where CCC had started to chase hard.


It didn’t take long for the peloton to catch the leaders but Nibali refused to give up. He attacked again and was quickly joined by Carlos Quintero (Colombia), Mauro Finetto (Southeast) and Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka). Matteo Trentin (Italy), Gianfranco Zilioli (Androni) and Jose Mendes (Bora Argon 18) took off in pursuit.


The trio made the junction and after Pauwels had been dropped, it was a front sextet with a 35-second advantage as they entered the final 20km. CCC and Caja Rural had started to chase but they failed to get any closer until MTN-Qhubeka took over.


Zilioli and Mendes were briefly dropped but managed to return. At one point, the gap had been down to 30 seconds but it hovered between the 35- and 40-second marks for a while.


With 10km to go, the gap to the 50-rider peloton was still 38 seconds and CCC and MTN-Qhubeka were unable to get any closer. Bardiani and Nippo took over the pace-setting but it didn’t make much of a difference as the gap was still 32 seconds with 7km to go.


With less than 3km to go, it was 33 seconds and evident that the leaders would stay away. That allowed the leaders to start the attacking and it was Mendes who made the first move. He had no luck and instead Nibali tried just after the passage of the flamme rouge. Mendes briefly joined him but was unable to stay with him and Nibali managed to hold of his chasers to win the race before Finetto beat Trentin in the sprint for second. Colbrelli beat Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy) in the sprint for seventh.


The series of Italian one-day races continues on Saturday in the Memorial Marco Pantani. The third and biggest race in the Trittico Lombardo race series is Tre Valli Varesine which is held later than usual on September 30.


A relatively flat course

The 97th edition of the Coppa Bernocchi was held on a 192km course around the city of Legnano. After a flat 44.9km opening section, the riders got to the main 16.7km circuit that included the small Piccolo Stelvio climb and that would be done seven times. Finally, they travelled 30.2km along flat roads back to the finish in the host city.


Unlike yesterday, there was no rain when the riders gathered for the start but many of the riders who crashed in yesterday’s tough conditions were absent. Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Argon 18), Anthony Delaplace, Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne), Jakob Kazmarek (CCC), Marco Minnaard (Wanty), Nicola Gaffurini (MG) and Endi Sirol (Meridiana) didn’t sign in this morning.


Lots of attacks

Right from the start, the first attacks were launched and it was a 7-rider group that first got clear. However, things were back together for the intermediate sprint that was won by Giorgio Bocchiola (D’Amico).


Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora), Felix Baron (Colombia), Paolo Ciavatta, Bocchiola (D’Amico) and Alessandro Pettiti (Idea) got a gap and they fought had to maintain a 10-second advantage while Nippo were chasing hard. Perichon was the first to sit up and later the entire group was caught.


24 riders get clear

Nippo and Idea were very active but no one had escaped after 19km of fast racing. It was Frederic Brun (Bretagne), Michele Scartezzini (MG) and Cristiano Monguzzi (Meridiana) who finally got a small gap and they were quickly joined by Emanuele Sella (Androni). However, the attacking continued and first 17 riders bridged the gap and when another three made the junction, it was a 24-rider front group with Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Astana), Matteo Trentin and Federico Zurlo (Italy), Edward Ravasi (Lampre - Merida), Serghei Tvetcov and Emanuele Sella (Androni - Sidermec), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani - CSF), Cesare Benedetti (Bora - Argon 18), Frederic Brun (Bretagne - Seche), Miguel Angel Benito (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA), Michal Paluta (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Nicolas Dougall (MTN - Qhubeka), Mamyr Stach (RusVelo), Manuel Belletti (Southeast), Cayetano Sarmiento (Colombia), Marco Marcato (Wanty - Gropue Gobert), Michele Scartezzini (MG. Kvis - Vega), Silvio Giorni and Davide Leone (D'Amico - Bottecchia), Luca Cappelli, Manuel Todaro and Alessandro Mariani (Team Idea), Georg Loef (Team Stuttgart) and Monguzzi.


At the 32km mark, the gap had gone out to 1.07 but the peloton refused to let them go. It became a big pursuit and the pace was too fast for Monguzzi who fell back to the peloton.


The group is caught

Nippo were again chasing hard and kept the gap around a minute for a while. As they also got some help from Wanty, it came down to 13 seconds and while Andrea Zordan (Androni) abandoned, the group was brought back as they approached of the Piccolo Stelvio climb.


Sella was very active and got a small gap after 52km of racing. Ravasi, Tvetcov and Brun took off in pursuit and while the peloton lost ground, they stayed around 10 seconds behind for a while. Sella decided to wait and when the junction was made, the quartet had a 50-second advantage


Two chasers take off

Camilo Castiblanco (Colombia) and Mariani took off in pursuit when the gap was 1.16 and they had reduced their deficit to 42 seconds at the 60km mark where the peloton was already 2.05 behind. Mariani was dropped on the climb while Castiblanco brought the gap down to 32 seconds. Sella led Brun and Ravasi over the top.


The gap had now gone out to 3.12 and it was Astana that had taken control of the peloton. Meanwhile, Castiblanco had been distanced by a minute while Mariani was caught by the peloton just after the 70km mark.


Nibali makes a move

The peloton slowly accelerated under the impetus of Eugenio Bani (Amore e Vita) and the gap was down to 2.41 at the end of the second hour. With 100km to go, it was back up to 3 minutes while Castiblanco was now 2.12 behind. The Colombian decided to sit up before they reached the top of the climb where Sella led Tvetcov and Ravasi over the line. The peloton followed at 4.06, led by Astana and Amore e Vita.


The peloton started to split under a sudden injection of pace as 10 riders got clear. Kristian Sbaragli (MTN) attacked and was joined by Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Marcato. They were brought back by the first part of the peloton which was down to 50 riders and trailing the leaders by 1.55. The second peloton was at 2.10.


Gasparotto and Quintero on the attack

The gap was down to 1.32 at the start of the penultimate lap of the circuit but as the peloton calmed down, the bunch regrouped and the gap started to grow back to more than two minutes. However, it was a short-lived breather as the gap was down to 1.20 when they hit the climb.


Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty) and Carlos Quintero (Colombia) tried to bridge the gap but they failed to make it. Sella was first to reach the summit but the peloton was now only 32 seconds behind.


The group slowed down as they headed down the descent and so the gap grew to a minute as they started the final lap. This allowed Emanuel Buchmann (Bora Argon 18) to launch a solo attack and while Wanty and Caja Rural set the pace, he started the climb with a 25-second delay while the peloton was at 52 seconds. Buchmann made the junction but behind the war was about to start as Nibali, Tiralongo and Paterski took off and kicked off the finale.



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