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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

Sonny Colbrelli is the new European Champion!

Bahrain Victorious congratulates Sonny Colbrelli on the prestigious victory in the men’s road race at the European Championships in Trento, Italy, on Sunday 12th September.

The rider of the Italian National team beat in a two-man sprint Remco Evenepoel (Belgium), with Benoit Cosnefroy (France) rounding up the podium in third place.

Today, Colbrelli was one of the favourites, coming from a successful season with Bahrain Victorious and recently having won the GC and one stage at the Benelux Tour. The Italian Champion showed his great shape on the European Champs course: a 179.2 km with start and finish in Trento. After the first 73 km in line, the route runs through the “Valle dei Laghi” and the “Monte Bondone”, followed by the final 13.2 km circuit, to be repeated eight times, including the Povo climb (3.6 km at 4.7%).
A course that suited our rider, as surviving the challenging circuit, meant to have the opportunity to play the cards of a fast man in the final flat 4 km.
That was what Colbrelli did, entering in the strong group of riders that attacked with 40km to go, then together with the only Cosnefroy (France) keeping the pace of Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) when he accelerated with 25km to go. After that, he was extraordinary in surviving to the final acceleration of the Belgian rider on the last climb and the only one to resist. It was a duel in the finale: Colbrelli was clever to open the sprint at the right time and take this excellent Road European Champion’s title. It’s the first time a rider of the team has won this prestigious jersey.

2021 UEC Road European Championships – Trento – Elite Men’s Road Race Trento – Trento 179,2 km – 12/09/2021 – Sonny Colbrelli (Italy) – Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) – photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021

Sonny Colbrelli: “It’s amazing. A fantastic victory. I didn’t have a good feeling at the beginning of the race. I had also got a lot of pressure as this race was a huge opportunity for me. But the Italian team worked perfectly, and Trentin, in the final, supported me excellently. Then I managed to follow Evenepoel on the last climb, although I was suffering. I’m so happy also because I took this win in Italy and as an Italian is something special”.

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

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.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

Sonny Colbrelli sprints to second on stage 5 Benelux Tour

Bahrain Victorious took another second place at Benelux Tour. After Phil Bauhaus was runner-up on opening day, Sonny Colbrelli was close to the victory on stage 5 (Riemst-Bilzen, 192km), with Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) beating the Italian Champion on the slightly uphill finish.

Today’s course, rolling in the Belgian provinces of Limburg and Liège, featured a hilly section, including 15 côtes, but a finale that could represent the last opportunity for pure sprinters to shine at this year’s edition.

An early breakaway of 3 riders formed after 28km, but it was always kept under control by the peloton, which closed the gap before the last lap of the final local circuit, with riders crossing the finish line 3 times before the finish.
Bahrain Victorious sprinter Phil Bauhaus wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t keep pace with the main group. With the German rider out of the game, it was then up to Sonny Colbrelli and Matej Mohorič to play their cards. A series of attempts of attacks enlightened the finale, including those of the Slovenian Champion, who tried to jump clear with about 5km to go. But with sprinters teams controlling the race, it was clear that a restricted group of fast men would fight for the win. The Italian Champion was the one who opened the sprint after a perfect leadout of his teammates with Mohorič as the last man, but the Australian Caleb Ewan put on a powerful acceleration to outsprint him.

Sonny Colbrelli: “It’s a pity not to have finalized with a victory the excellent job done by my teammates. We raced well, and I’m confident ahead of the last two stages. I will try again, that’s for sure”.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 5th stage Riemst – Bilzen 192 km – 03/09/2021 – Heinrich Haussler (AUS – Bahrain Victorious) – Gino Mader (SUI – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhotoå©2021

Rolf Aldag, Bahrain Victorious SD: “It was a pretty intense stage since the beginning, as it was the last chance for sprinter’s team to take a win. We adjusted our strategies during the race, as our initial plan was to win the stage with Phil Bauhaus, but we knew that the race might be harder than on paper, so we left it open for Colbrelli and Mohorič. Moreover, Phil didn’t feel good today. He’s struggling a bit with his health since the Deutschland Tour. So we made the race for Sonny, with also the option to a late attack from Matej. Everybody executed his job excellently, keeping the guys on the front. Haussler kept the pace high and was still there in the leadout as Wright did. Before that, Milan and Sieberg positioned the team on the narrow roads. So all in all, we are satisfied, although it’s a second place again, and only again a matter of some metres. Anyway, we must accept that we can be beaten by someone who is in perfect shape.”

Benelux Tour continues tomorrow with the final two stages. A very demanding weekend, with a climbing stage 6 and the cobblestones on the last day.

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

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com