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Italian beats Ponzi in very close sprint at the end of the hilly first race of the Trittico Lombardo; young talents Mucelli and Facchini caught inside final kilometre

Photo: Sirotti

COPPA AGOSTONI - GIRO DELLE BRIANZE

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FILIPPO POZZATO

RIDER PROFILE
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SIMONE PONZI

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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21.08.2013 @ 17:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) put an until now difficult first season on his team back on track when he won the first race of the highly prestigious Trittico Lombardo race series, Coppo Agostoni. Having used his strong team to catch talented Patrick Facchini (Androni) and Davide Mucelli (Ceramica Flaminia) inside the final kilometre, the Italian launched his strong sprint to narrowly edge out Simon Ponze (Astana) and so take his 2nd win in Lampre colours.

 

It has been a difficult first season with Lampre for Filippo Pozzato who was unable to produce the same kind of results in the cobbled classics as he has earlier in his career. His Giro d'Italia was another big disappointment but today he proved that he still knows how to win races when he won the hilly Coppa Agostoni which kicked off the highly prestigious Trittico Lombardo race series.

 

Having missed out on the strong 8-rider group which had gone clear on the race's major climbs, Pozzato and his Lampre teammates combined forces with Vini Fantini in the small peloton that had gathered behind. Those two teams did a fantastic job to reel in the final escapees Patrick Facchini and Davide Mucelli inside the final kilometre and so set up the planned reduced bunch sprint.

 

Pozzato was well-placed and launched his sprint perfectly but was nearly overtaken by Simone Ponzi. However, the latter ran out of metres and so Pozzato took his 2nd win in his new colours while Marco Zamparella (Utensilnord) took the final podium spot.

 

The Trittico Lombardo race series continues tomorrow with the Coppa Bernocchi which is typically a race for the sprinters while it comes to an exciting conclusion on Friday with the biggest race in the series, the very hilly Tre Valli Varesine.

 

An easier route

After a recent reshuffling of the races, the Trittico Lombardo kicked off with the Coppa Agostoni which is one of two hilly races in the race series. The course consisted of four laps on a completely flat 29km circuit which were followed by a difficult final 82,7 km circuit that contained four big climbs.

 

The race was off to a fast start with numerous attacks launched in the early part. Mart Ojavee (Champion System) was the first to get a noticeable gap but the Estonian was quickly reeled in.  Andrea Zordan (Lampre), Ferekalsi Debesay (MTN-Qhubeka), Enrico Rossi (Meridiana Kamen), Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen), Alessandro Mazzi (Utensilnord), Fortunato Baliani (Nippo), Dalivier Ospina (Colombia), Josef Cerny (CCC), Simone Campagnaro (Nippo) and Alex Kirsh (Leopard Trek) were all ahead at some point but after more than 40km, it had all been back together.

 

The break is formed

Matthew Brammeier (Champion System) finally got clear while Tim Mertens (Topsport Vlaanderen) set off in pursuit. The latter was joined by Alberto Cecchin (Nippo) and Nicola Dal Santo (Ceramica Flaminia) and the three chasers made it up to the leader. Later Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) also got across to form the day's early 5-rider break.

 

They were allowed to build up a 4-minute gap until Davide Rebellin's CCC Polsat team started to control proceeding. They were replaced by Meridiana Kamen team which did much of the early work to keep the break in check, the team hoping to set up Patrick Sinkewitz for the win.

 

The peloton ups the pace

As they approached the first of the final 4 climbs, the peloton accelerated as Vini Fantini and Bardiani now also joined the chase. When they hit the lower slopes of the ascent, it was Astana and Katusha who put down the hammer and the peloton immediately splintered to pieces.

 

Mertens fell off the pace in the front group while Brammeier was also put into difficulty. The Irishman made it back on the descent but on the second climb of the day, it was finally over for the Champion System rider.

 

Attacks from the peloton

Alessio Camilli (Nippo), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini) and Massimo Demarin (Meridiana Kamen) had made a fruitless attack from the peloton on the first climb. On the second ascent, Astana decided to play their first card as they launched Fabio Aru up the road.

 

Initially, the Italian was joined by Camilli, Sergey Chernetskiy (Katusha), Jan Polanc (Lampre), Rebellin, Julian Arredondo (Nippo) and Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Bardiani) but when he finally got clear, he had Kristijan Durasek (Lampre) and Patrick Facchini (Androni) for company. Those three riders crested the summit of the climb with a 15-second gap over the peloton as they had also overtaken the early break along the way.

 

An 8-rider group is formed

On the third climb, the day's major ascent, Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini), Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini) and Sergey Firsanov (Rusvelo) all tried to bridge across but had no success. Facchini fell off the pace and so only Durasek and Aru remained in the front group.

 

Rebellin and Sinkewitz attacked hard and made it up to the front duo while Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani) joined the leaders a little later. Facchini had got company from Mucelli and those two riders bridged up to the front group when the climb got a little gentler. The final rider to join the move was Ivan Rovny (Ceramica Flaminia) while Firsanov was in lone pursuit a few metres behind.

 

The chase gets organized

Aru tried to go off on his own on the final climb but his companions reeled him in after a short chase. The riders were now spread out all over the road but gradually a larger peloton formed behind the front octet.

 

On the final flat 28,1km stretch to the finish, Vini Fantini and Lampre organized a chase from that main group as they had big hopes for Finetto and Pozzato in the sprint. They quickly caught Firsanov while there was no great cooperation in the front group.

 

Attacks from the front group

Inside the final 10km, Facchini attacked from the front group and he was joined by Mucelli. The move was short-lived but it initiated a very aggressive phase with numerous attacks where Ceramica Flaminia tried to exploit their strength in numbers by launching both Rovny and Mucelli up the road.

 

With 4km to go, Mucelli finally got clear while Facchini did a good job to bridge across. The two young Italians worked well together while their former companions were all caught with 2km to go.

 

Lampre and Vini Fantini kept the pace high all the way to the finish, ultimately catching the front duo inside the final kilometre. Just at that moment Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) tried to make a finisseur attack but a Bardiani rider brought it back together with Pozzato and Ponzi in his wheel. Pozzato opened his sprint but as he got closer to the line, Ponzi was clearly the fastest of the two. However, he ran out of metres and so Pozzato could celebrate a rare victory.

 

Results:

1. Filippo Pozzato

2. Simone Ponzi

3. Marco Zamparella

4. Davide Rebellin

5. Ivan Rovny

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