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March Hirschi led home a UAE Emirates one-two and completed a day of dominance for his team at the Veneto Classic.
Hirschi attacked out of a three-rider group in the final 10km of the multi-surface Italian race Sunday to score his fourth win of the season, beating teammate Davide Formolo and Alpecin-Deceuninck rider Nicola Conci.
UAE Emirates, Alpecin-Deecuninck and Lotto-Soudal dominated the final phase of the Vicenza race, which saw sections of dirt and cobblestones through its 190km course.
Hirschi’s victory was forged in a daredevil descent off the stoney final climb of the day.
The Swiss secured a slim lead over Formolo and Conci in the sinuous downhill and held on for a 10-second victory in Bassano del Grappa. Hirschi’s UAE team filled out the top-10 with four riders in the top-10.
The victory puts the Emirati squad – home of Tadej Pogačar, João Almeida, Brandon McNulty, and Matteo Trentin, who won the Giro del Veneto on Wednesday – on 48 wins for the season, a tally only matched by Jumbo-Visma.
— VENETO Classic (@VenetoClassic) October 16, 2022
“I liked the parcours,” Hirschi said after he topped the podium. “The race was really interesting with the climb and the gravel, but I could make the difference on the descent, it was technical.”
Hirschi looked to be gapped on the decisive final hill before clawing his way back over the summit just in time to launch his winning downhill attack.
“I did the climb in training and knew it was a long climb. I tried to be on the side of the gravel so I could save energy, and I just came back on the top and went straight to the front. At one moment they made a small mistake and I could go over,” he said. “I got a gap and luckily it was enough.”
Four victories for 2022 puts Hirschi right back in the winner’s circle after suffering with illness and hip problems through the 2021 season.
The now-24-year-old had enjoyed a breakout final year with Sunweb in 2020 but faded from view in his debut season with UAE Emirates. Hirschi now ends his 2022 like he started it – at the front of the winner’s photo.
“I’m looking forward to next year,” he said. “This year was difficult. I had an operation in January so I had a later start. I hope to have a good winter and come back next year on the same level as now.”