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Marc Hirschi took a morale-boosting victory Sunday at the Per Sempre Alfredo race in Italy in his first race since hip surgery.
The Swiss rider on UAE Emirates delayed his 2022 season debut until Sunday to undergo surgery this winter to treat long-running rotation issues on his right hip.
Hirschi attacked on the final climb on the hilly course in Italy’s Tuscany region to drive home the solo victory.
“I’m really delighted with this win, it means a lot. I’ve worked so hard together with my team over the past months to come back and it makes me really happy to do it like this,” he said.
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The victory is Hirschi’s fourth of his career. The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout 2020 season, winning a stage at the Tour de France and Flèche Wallonne. Last year saw him plagued with health issues, but he raced in support of Tadej Pogačar at the Tour de France and later won a stage at the Tour of Luxembourg.
20 wins so far in 2022 for UAE Emirates
It’s unclear what Hirschi’s race program looks like, but he’s set to race Coppi e Bartali this week, and will likely start some of the major one-day classics.
“I have to thank my team for their confidence and for all the work they’ve done in getting me to this point,” he said. “Watching the team achieving everything they have this season was huge motivation while I was on the sidelines and it feels great to be back with them in the peloton again.”
Hirschi’s victory keeps the momentum rolling at UAE Emirates, which has won 20 races so far in 2022. Pascal Ackermann won the Bredene Koksijde Classic on Friday.
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamEmiratesUAE) March 20, 2022