Sprinting out of a small bunch, Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) won the Gran Premio Nobili Thursday, in Stresa, Italy.
It was the Italian sprinter’s first win of the season, and he claimed it ahead of Southeast’s Simone Ponzi and Katusha’s Marco Haller, who were second and third, respectively.
“In the end I took the wheel of [Alejandro] Valverde who was helping take [JJ] Lobato to the front, but I was left with 300 meters to go, and I had no choice but to go long,” Nizzolo said in a team press release. “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, and I was feeling better the second time.”
The peloton would not let any breaks get away during the first half of the 187.5km race. Finally, 27 riders escaped after almost 90 kilometers.
Nizzolo’s Trek team had four riders in the move: Eugenio Alafaci, Calvin Watson, Marco Coledan, and Laurent Didier, which played into the sprinter’s hand.
The lead group had over three minutes advantage before all but seven were brought back on first ascent of the Massino Visconti climb with around 55 kilometers remaining.
“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 three-minute lead, and you never know what happens,” said Trek team director Adriano Baffi. “But everything came together again.”
On the second trip up Massino Visconti, Valverde (Movistar) and Davide Rebellin (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice) attacked, caught, and passed the remaining seven-rider break.
After the descent, the two had over 25 seconds on a small peloton, but with some 20 kilometers still to race. With seven kilometers to the finish, the peloton brought them back to set up a bunch sprint of about 50 riders.
“Today, the race was crazy. We went over the fastest average speed they predicted,” said Nizzolo. “I think we did something like 46kph and the fastest time was for 44kph. 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.”