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Sonny Colbrelli 2nd at Coppa Sabatini

Sonny Colbrelli crossed the line behind Michael Valgren (EF Education-Nippo) on an uphill sprint to the line at Coppa Sabatini.

This year’s Gran Premio Citta di Peccioli was a bit different than in the previous years. It was 210 km long with three different circuits which always passed through the tiny picturesque old city Peccioli.

Despite an early breakaway, Bahrain Victorious took control of the race to manage the gap. Sonny was positioned very well at the penultimate climb and was one of the protagonists who pushed the group. On the final climb, Colbrelli and seven riders went up the road with a minute to the peloton. With several attacks, Sonny chose the right moment to follow Valgren but ultimately had to settle for second as fatigue from his efforts in the European Championships set in.

Coppa Sabatini 2021 – Gran Premio Citta di Peccioli – 69th Edition – Peccioli – Peccioli 210,8 km – 16/09/2021 – Sonny Colbrelli (ITA – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Sonny Colbrelli: “I gave it my all today. In the late breakaway group, I always pull at the front. They were in two of the same team, and obviously, Valgren stayed behind. Therefore, in the finale, he has more energy left. I can’t say I’m happy with a second-place result, as I always want to win. Today more than ever, I’m wearing the European Champion jersey and wanted to take the first win with it. Besides that, my teammates, especially Domen Novak and Jonathan Milan, worked hard, and I wanted to repay them with a victory”.

Alberto Volpi, Bahrain Victorious Sports Director: “We are satisfied with today’s racing. Guys followed the instructions and the team strategy. Sonny was at the end well positioned with the help of all his teammates. Unfortunately, he didn’t have strength in the last few meters, and he finished 2nd.”

Sonny Colbrelli can soon have another opportunity to take the first victory with the European Champion jersey, as he will lead Bahrain Victorious at Memorial Marco Pantani, scheduled on Saturday 18th September. The Italian Champion already won this race in 2014, which wants to remember one of the most beloved Italian cyclists of all time.

This edition will feature a traditional route of 196km from Castrocaro Terme Terra del Sole to Cesenatico. A challenging course, including the Montevecchio circuit with a 5km climb (average slope of 6-8% with peaks of 13-14%) to be covered three times. Then the race heads towards the sea, with the finale on the Cesenatico 5km circuit to repeat four times, for a total of Km 20.

Alberto Volpi, Bahrain Victorious SD: “Memorial Pantani is always a particular race with a challenging first part with many climbs and a second easier part on the plain. We aim to win the race with our leader Sonny Colbrelli, supported by Domen Novak. We will also try to enter in the break with Pernsteiner, Padun and Williams”.

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious)

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com

Santesteban climbs to 4th to catapult herself up to 2nd on the general classification in Ardeche – Team BikeExchange

Spanish climber Ane Santesteban has once again shown her continuously building form, by climbing to a strong fourth place on today’s summit finish stage at Cycliste Féminin de l’Ardeche. The strong performance on the tough 119.6km stage sees the 30-year-old climb the overall classification into second position.

Santesteban had teammate Lucy Kennedy by her side towards the final, on the penultimate climb, before Ruth Winder attacked away from the group and was able to hold off the chasers to take a solo victory.

Santesteban dug deep up the final first category ascent and was able to finish in fourth place, on the same time as race leader Leah Thomas who finished second place and third place Mavi Garcia

The Team BikeExchange rider will start tomorrow’s fifth stage in second place overall just nine seconds down on Thomas and on the same time as Garcia, who currently sits in third place.

Ane Santesteban – 4th place
“The team was awesome again today. They keep me out of trouble and out of the wind all day and the last two climbs were hard. There were some moves from the main general classification riders, and we had to control them

Today we actually had the plan to try to go for the stage win with Lucy Kennedy. The girls perfectly executed the plan, and she was able to get away. In the end, she missed some good legs but I’m sure she will find again her moment here and finish her career in the best way. This is the same place where everything started for her as a professional cyclist.

I am really motivated and feeling confidence for the next three stages. It’s so nice to see how strong we are as a team. That really helps me. Fourth place in the end today and now up to second place overall, so it is exciting.”

2021 Cycliste Féminin de l’Ardeche – Stage 4 results:
1. Ruth Winder 3:28:23
2. Leah Thomas +2:18
3. Mavi Garcia +2:18
4. Ane Santesteban (Team BikeExchange) +2:18

General Classification after stage 4:
1. Leah Thomas 13:44:39
2. Ane Santesteban (Team BikeExchange) +0:09
3. Mavi Garcia +0:09

Photo courtesy of Getty Images 

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Giacomo Nizzolo sprints to 2nd place at Tour of Britain stage 5

Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) won stage 5 of the Tour of Britain, taking the win just ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka NextHash) with Dan Mclay (Arkea Samsic) in 3rd place.

Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain was a 150km route from Alderely Park to Warrington. After a few initial undulations, the final 80km of the stage was mostly flat which made it a great opportunity for the sprinters.

Team Qhubeka NextHash looked to make the most of this opportunity with the European Champion, Nizzolo one of the favourites for the stage. Five riders formed the early break of the day, but as expected, they were not given much of an advantage.

Nicholas Dlamini, together with a rider from Deceuninck-Quickstep and Israel Start-Up Nation controlled the gap throughout the day. It was then Qhubeka NextHash that took responsibility, adding Mauro Schmid and Sean Bennett to the chase with 25km to go to shut down the break.

The finale was made trickier due to a brief but late downpour which, making the roads quite slippery. Just inside of a kilometer to go, there was a crash right up near the front of the peloton. This created a slight split in the peloton which Nizzolo was caught behind.

Fortunately for Nizzolo, Barbero was there in support to close the gap, but it was still a significant effort required just before kicking to the line. Almost as soon as Nizzolo got dropped off he had to launch his sprint from far to try and pass those that escaped the crash ahead of him before the line arrived.

Nizzolo had the superior speed over the final meters and was able to pass everyone that but Hayter, who just held on to take the stage victory.

Unfortunately, the crash in the last corner was not necessary. We had to come from far with Carlos, he did a great job to close the gap but it did not come for free. When I arrived it was the moment to start the sprint and my legs were already full of lactic acid. I can say I am happy I didn’t crash but at the same time not super happy because I think I had a better chance to play my card. Overall, I am happy, the team did a super job to control the race with Deceuninck and now I look forward to the next goals.

Giacomo Nizzolo

— Damian to teamqhubeka.com

Sonny Colbrelli tops Benelux Tour GC as Matej Mohrič took the final stage and made the overall podium in 2nd

1-2 for the second consecutive day at the Benelux Tour on the stage and the final general classification, with Sonny Colbrelli defending the GC leadership and Matej Mohorič as runner-up. Bahrain Victorious concluded the 7-day WorldTour stage race across Netherlands and Belgium countries impressively.

Benelux Tour ended today with stage 7 (Namur-Geraardsbergen, 181.8km), featuring the traditional Flanders climbs as the Bosberg, the Denderoordstraat and the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen.

On the paper, it was a day that could upset the general ranking. But Bahrain Victorious started the stage with two riders in first and second place overall: Sonny Colbrelli and Matej Mohorič, both heavily favoured to take the stage and defend the leadership, as the course suited them.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 7th stage Namur – Geraardsbergen 180,9 km – 05/09/2021 – Matej Mohoric (SLO – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

After a very fast start and several unsuccessful attempts, a breakaway of four riders was established. 7 further men then managed to join them. But none of the guys in the front group was a threat to the GC. 

Once the breakaway was caught back, Asgreen, Mohorič, Campenaerts and McNulty formed a new leading group. Then the Slovenian Champion attacked again on ‘De Muur’ before the final lap to repeat a solo success as his teammate did the day before. On the legendary ascent, Colbrelli came in second place, 11″ adrift, with Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma) in 3rd place (+15″).

Matej Mohorič: “It was like a dream for us today. It’s a super proud moment for the team and one of the most significant victories for us.

The first goal of today’s stage was to defend the GC. I also was second overall, so we were thinking about that as well. The stage win was a goal too, but it was not likely.

We took control immediately after the breakaway was established. We worked super good as a team in front. In the final, Asgreen attacked, and I immediately followed with Campenaerts, and we bridged over to the breakaway. I wanted to save my legs to the finale also to help in case of need for Sonny. Then when I saw the opportunity on the last climb of the Muur I tried to go for the stage win. Sonny protected me from the back”.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 7th stage Namur – Geraardsbergen 180,9 km – 05/09/2021 – Matej Mohoric (SLO – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

Sonny Colbrelli: “1-2 in the stage as yesterday and 1-2 in the general classification. Something we can be more than proud of! Today, I had to defend the leader jersey, but we were also trying to go for the stage as a team. When Matej was leading, I controlled from behind, always trying to follow the various attacks. In the final, Dumoulin accelerated, and I must admit I struggled a bit to follow him. In the end, we managed to realise our plans, and that’s amazing”.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 7th stage Namur – Geraardsbergen 180,9 km – 05/09/2021 – Sonny Colbrelli (ITA – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com