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Elia Viviani sprints to win in 2011 GP Costa degli Etruschi

Italian Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) kicked to victory in Saturday’s GP Costa degli Etruschi.

Some are calling Viviani Italy’s next big sprinter and he lived up to the hype in the 186km run over the hills ending in a mass gallop in Donoratico.

“I was able to finish off the work of my teammates,” Viviani said in a team release. “Less than 5km from the line, Vanotti came to the front, then Marangoni, Dall’Antonia, Koren, Cimolai, Oss and Sagan guided me all the way in perfectly. Two hundred meters to go I started my sprint to avoid any surprises. Belletti and Ferrari were the most feared opponents. It was a clean sprint, I couldn’t ask for a better start on Italian roads.”

The win was the first for Liquigas-Cannondale on the 2011 season. Viviani will line up later this month for a pair of races in Mumbai, India, and then head back to the track in Manchester at the end of February.

Roberto Ferrari (Androni-Giaccotti) crossed the line second while Elia Favili (Farnese-Neri) rounded out the podium with third. Peter Sagan, making his season debut, crossed the line fourth after setting up his teammate for victory.

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre), winner of the past six editions of the race, did not start due to a lingering cold.

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