Italian team rider Fabio Felline won the 54th Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy on Sunday.

Italian team rider Fabio Felline won the 54th Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy on Sunday. The 26-year-old, who is contracted to Trek-Segafredo, attacked with 15km to go and soloed to victory on the one-day UCI European Tour race with Frenchman Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and fellow Italian Mauro Finetto (Delko-Marseille Provence KTM) 25 seconds behind in second and third respectively.

“I am very happy,” Felline said. “This is an area where I trained a lot when I was young, and my parents and fan club were at the finish. It is never easy to win a professional race and to win here, in front of them, is very special.”

The 192.5-kilometer race ended with three local laps that included a steep 2km climb with 10 percent average gradient, which created a natural selection and whittled the peloton to a select group by the last lap. On the third and final ascent with 11 kilometers remaining, Felline accelerated and immediately opened a gap. By the top of the 2km climb he had 14 seconds, and in the run-in to the line he stretched it to 30 seconds; enough time to savor the victory in his first race start of the season.

“On the final climb I was waiting for someone to attack, but no one did so I decided to go,” explained Felline. “When I looked behind me, no one was on my wheel, and so I went à bloc.

“I knew that if I was à bloc then they would also be à bloc behind me. I was told I had 20 seconds when I arrived to the final flat kilometers. I think it was 30 seconds, or 25 at the finish, but it doesn’t matter; what matters is to get the win.”

“It has been more than a year since I have won a race, and for me my goal for 2017 was to win again. To do it in my very first race gives me a lot of moral for the rest of the season.”