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García Cortina was not in a great position coming through the final right-hander but poured on the gas when he found an open lane to sweep to victory out of a reduced bunch. The victory was the first for the highly touted García Cortina since he joined Movistar in 2021.
“It’s my first victory after two years with the team and I feel so happy,” Cortina said. “It was not so good for me sometimes, and I kept fighting and I finally got the victory. I actually hoped to win today. After the last races, I had the legs. With the climb 30km to go, it could break the group, and Matteo did a really good job. In the sprint, I was quite far back in the corner, and I knew the group was not so big, and I could pass the people and take the victory. It was not a lot of tactic in the sprint, just legs.”
Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) crossed the line second, with Alexis Vuillermoz (Total Energies) third. The pre-race favored sprinters came through more than a minute in arrears.
The peloton split into two on the day’s main obstacle at Il Pilonetto in the otherwise dead-flat 198km race. That didn’t mean it was easy, and there was a tug-of-war between a front group of about 35 to 40 riders and the chasing peloton with some of the favored sprinters.
“If someone said I would be second today, I would sign up for that. How the race played out, I am a bit disappointed, because I did not do the perfect sprint,” said Morohič, who won the CRO Race last week. “Cortina came from the back with speed, but I am still a little bit disappointed. Second place is good, but it is not a win.
“I was feeling super good on the climb and I was not on my limit. The pace was super-high after the climb. We never stopped and we went full gas, and it was hard on the wheel,” Mohorič said. “I lacked a bit of momentum to open up. For Saturday, Lombardia is a climber’s race, and I do not consider myself a climber.”
Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) was in an early four-rider break but was reeled in with about 30km to go to set up the final tussle between the leading group and the chasing sprinters. The gap was hovering at about 1 minute between the two groups and came down to 38 seconds with 15km to go.
Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) was among several riders to pull at the front group to ensure the gap to the main pack would hold until the finish line. It went down to the wire in the race from Omegna to Beinasco, and Peter Sierry (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) jumped with 4.5km, but the move was eventually snuffed to set up the reduced bunch sprint.
The victory was the cherry on the cake of what’s been a strong season finale for Movistar. The Spanish WorldTour team was in danger of relegation in August, but posted a string of consistent results, including second overall at the Vuelta a España, that all but secured the team’s WorldTour future.
The race was the final warmup ahead of Saturday’s big date at Il Lombardia, the fifth and final monument of the 2022 season.
Matteo Jorgenson on the move in last European race of 2022
Matteo Jorgenson was on the march in his final race of the 2022 season in Europe.
He linked up with three riders who jumped to create the day’s main breakaway in the 106th edition of the Italian classic. Only Malecki was able to stay with Jorgenson over the day’s main obstacles, which also fractured the main bunch.
Bahrain-Victorious, Israel-Premier Tech, and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert all chipped in to keep the leaders on a short leash and to fuel a gap between the chasing sprinters. Pre-race favorites such as Elia Viviani (Ineos Grenadiers) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel Premier Tech) were stuck in the chasing group and never made it back.
Jorgenson was finally reeled in with about 30km to go, and he settled into the front group to link up with some Movistar teammates to work for García Cortina.
The American, who was a major player during the Tour de France, will finish off his season at the Tour de Langkawi.