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VN news ticker: Giacomo Nizzolo unstoppable at Clásica de Almería; Bennett, Williams win New Zealand road championships

Here's the news making headlines for Sunday, February 14.

Giacomo Nizzolo powers to victory at Clásica de Almería

Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) won the Clásica de Almería from a long powerful sprint. The Italian fastman and European champion beat Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Martin Laas (Bora-Hansgrohe) to take the first victory of the season for his team and its new co-backers.

The final 20 kilometers of the largely flat race was battered by winds and saw a number of crashes, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step number one sprinter Alvaro Hodeg ruled out in the first of the tumbles. Quick-Step continued on nonetheless as they looked to lead out Sénéchal, however Nizzolo sprinted from fourth wheel with an unstoppable acceleration to win by a clear margin.

“I really happy – I really wanted to start the season well,” Nizzolo said. “I’ve had a few physical problems, so I’m really happy to be good so early on … this has given me a lot of confidence and I want to take that into the classics.”

George Bennett, Georgia Williams take New Zealand road race titles

George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) scored a solo victory with a late attack while Georgia Williams (BikeExchange) won from a sprint at the New Zealand national championships Sunday.

Bennett has finished in the top-10 in all but one of his appearances at the nationals and finally had his moment in the 174km race into Cambridge.

“I’ve been trying to get this title for ten years,” he said. “I have always wanted to win this jersey and to be able to wear it with my team all year round in the WorldTour is so special. I am proud to wear that jersey – take it to Europe and represent New Zealand Cycling. That is very special.”

Williams took her second title having also won in 2018. The 27-year-old won from a two-up sprint having gone clear with Kate McCarthy (Cabjaks-Castelli Custom) in the opening lap.

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Toon Aerts victorious at X2O Trofee Brussels University

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado narrowly beat Denise Betsema to take the honors at the final round of the X2O Trofee. Lucinda Brand finished fifth on the day and secured the overall title, so taking a clean sweep of the world championships, World Cup and Superprestige classifications.

Toon Aerts bettered Quinten Hermans to take a solo win in the men’s race. Overnight series leader Eli Iserbyt was distanced early on the technical circuit but limited his losses to finish sixth in Brussels and win the final classification.