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Matej Mohorič snatches CRO Race victory from Jonas Vingegaard in bonus point coup

Elia Viviani scores sprint victory out of dominant Ineos Grenadiers leadout in Zagreb final stage.

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Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) usurped Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) from the CRO Race leader’s jersey and secured the overall GC on Sunday.

Mohorič amassed the bonus points needed to bump Tour de France champion Vingegaard from the top of the classification and snag his first victory since he won Milan-San Remo this spring.

Elia Viviani (Ineos Grenadiers) won the final stage sprint in Zagreb while Mohorič completed his mission to score the second-place required to rumble Vingegaard out of the leader’s red jersey.

Vingegaard finished in the front group but lost out on the overall by just one second after Mohorič turned his eight-second overnight deficit into a one-second winning margin.

Mohorič back in winner’s circle ahead of Il Lombardia

Victory marks a mojo-boosting return to the winner’s circle for Mohorič after COVID and a collection of complications saw him stuck in first gear through the summer.

“This was a bit of a goal for me, I wanted to finish the season in good shape,” Mohorič said after securing Croatian victory.

“I had a lot of health problems this summer and I started to feel better when I went to Canada. I decided not to do the world championships so I could train more because I thought I wouldn’t have the shape to be competitive. Here, I came with better legs already and I’m very happy and proud we could pull off this win with my team.”

Although the CRO Race didn’t draw the deepest of startlists while many riders race through Italy, Mohorič heads into Il Lombardia with the wind at his back and dark-horse status for the final monument of the season.

Mohorič and his Bahrain crew played a canny game Sunday.

After starting the stage eight seconds back on Vingegaard, Mohorič did the math and made sure to be in the right place at the right time in the final stage toward Zagreb.

The Slovenian snatched three bonus seconds in the first intermediate of the sprinter-friendly route and grabbed six more by surfing the winners’ wheels in the final kilometers.

“It was an open battle for GC, I was eight seconds behind at the start,” Mohorič said. “It looked almost impossible on paper to get the GC, but we tried and went all in for the first intermediate. Then we knew I had to finish second on the stage.

“Basically the team did all the work. I just sat on the wheel and made sure I didn’t lose them in the final.”

Viviani: ‘I think we did our best leadout of this year’

It wasn’t just Mohorič that returned to winning ways Sunday.

Viviani won for the first time since February in what was just his second victory for Ineos Grenadiers.

The British squad dominated the final kilometers through the Croatian capital with a five-rider freight train that towed Viviani toward the mass sprint.

“Today we really commited for a bunch sprint,” Viviani said. “We looked at last year’s stage and were worried about attacks in the last lap. We knew if Mohorič need to attack if he wanted to win GC, so we stayed on the wheels all day and let Bahrain do the job.”

The Ineos carriages remained assembled through a chaotic final that saw a late crash and several riders stray off-course at a wrong turn.

“I think we did our best leadout of this year,” Viviani said.

“It was just my second win of the year but when the win comes like that it’s thanks to the team. Victory means a lot, when you’re a sprinter you don’t win a lot of times, so the next win is always important. I hope to end the season in the best way possible and give some wins to the team.”