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Giacomo Nizzolo won the Gran Premio Nobili Rubinetterie Thursday, winning from a reduced bunch sprint that arrived after 187.5 kilometers.
It was his first victory this season and a much-needed win for the Italian sprinter who is often knocking on the door with numerous top three results to his name, but not the desired top podium step.
Giacomo Nizzolo explained the finale: “In the end I took the wheel of Valverde who was helping take Lobato to the front, but I was left with 300 meters to go and I had no choice but to go long. It was a long sprint and I was scared I would be passed in the last meters.”
“The first lap I was suffering more over the climb,” he continued, “and I was feeling better the second time. I must say a big thanks to all my team. Fabian [Cancellara] was a big help to pace me over the two climbs and then Fabio [Felline] was there at the end; I don’t want to miss naming anyone because everyone on the team played a big part of this win today.
The first half of the race saw a stubborn peloton refusing to let any escape up the road until finally 27 riders detached after almost 90 kilometers had been pedaled.
An attentive Trek Factory Racing snuck four men into the large breakaway with Eugenio Alafaci, Calvin Watson, Marco Coledan, and Laurent Didier all represented in the move.
The leading group gained over three minutes advantage before all but seven were tagged back on first ascent of Massino Visconti climb with around 55-kilometers left.
“Our pre-race plan was to not go with any attacks but focus on the finale, but after 80 or so kilometers a group of 27 went away and it was good to have four of our guys there since at one moment they had a 3-minute lead and you never know what happens,” explained director Adriano Baffi. “But everything came together again.”
The seven leaders rallied out front until the second time up Massino Visconti where Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Davide Rebellin (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice) attacked and quickly assumed new leadership of the race.
After the descent the duo had over 25 seconds gap on a decimated peloton, but with some 20 kilometers still to race they stood little chance, and at seven kilometers from the end the peloton was united again and headed for a bunch sprint. Only 50 riders arrived to contest the finish, where Nizzolo outkicked all to notch a long-due victory.
“Today the race was crazy, we went over the fastest average speed they predicted,”added Nizzolo. “I think we did something like 46km/h and the fastest time was for 44km/h. It was really hard and fast from the start.
“I was not worried when Valverde and Rebellin were off the front – with these two riders I expect this – and they were only two and two teams were pulling full gas behind,” he said when asked about the threatening late escape by the two dangerous riders.
Director Adriano Baffi summed up what the win means for the team: “In the end we have the win, which is fantastic, but it was even more important for Giacomo. It’s also a nice victory for the team ahead of Milan-Sanremo, which of course is our big objective.”