8/21/2013 - NEWS!
Pozzato claims Coppa Agostoni victory
Italian beats Ponzi and Zamparella in sprint
Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) claimed victory at the Coppa Agostoni, the opening race of the Trittico Lombardo, with a well-timed sprint in Lissone. The Italian saw off the challenge of Simone Ponzi (Astana) and Marco Zamparella (Utensilnord) to claim his second victory of the season.
“It was about time,” said Pozzato, who won the Trofeo Laigueglia in February but then fell well short of expectations in the spring classics. “I messed up the spring completely, but for the past two months I’ve been working very well.”
Traffic tailbacks in Monza meant that the start of the race was delayed by some 45 minutes and the race distance was reduced by 29 kilometres in order to maintain the original finishing schedule. The day’s early break featured Irish champion Matt Brammeier (Champion System), Nicola Dal Santo (Ceramica Flaminia), Alberto Cecchin (Nippo-De Rosa), Tim Mertens (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka), who built up a maximum advantage of four minutes before the three WorldTour teams in the race – Lampre, Astana and Katusha – began chasing in earnest.
They would be swept up on the finishing circuit, however, as the impressive Fabio Aru (Astana) sprang into action with a fierce acceleration on the climb of Colle Brianza with 47km to go. The young Sardinian was again on the offensive on the Giovenzana, ultimately helping to form an eight-man group on the front that also featured Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat), Davide Mucelli, Ivan Rovny (Ceramica Flaminia), Kritjian Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Patrick Facchini (Androni-Venezuela) and Patrik Sinkewitz (Meridiana).
Aru’s fireworks were not quite finished, however, and the 23-year-old delivered another smart attack on the final climb of the Lissolo, punching his way clear of his fellow escapees. With 27km still to race, however, he quickly realised that it was impossible to stay clear alone and he duly waited for his breakaway companions on the technical descent.
At that point, it appeared as though the eight leaders would dispute the win as they held an advantage of almost two minutes over the main peloton, but a concerted chase from Vini Fantini-Selle Italia and Lampre-Merida helped to bring the gruppo back into contention on the approach to the finish.
With four kilometres remaining, the gap was down to just ten seconds, and while Facchini and Mucelli put up fierce resistance as far as the red kite, the race ultimately came down to a sprint finish, where Pozzato emerged to take the win and – perhaps – make a case for a spot on the Italian national team at the world championships in Florence. “I’m certainly interested, but Paolo Bettini will decide,” he said.
The Trittico Lombardo, the trio of races in Lombardy that has traditionally served as an important stepping stone towards the Worlds, continues on Thursday with the Coppa Bernocchi at Legnano, before the Tre Valli Varesine on Friday.
Read more on: Cyclingnews.com
Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) wins
Photo: © Bettini Photo