Sonny Colbrelli wins the Memorial Pantani
A mere two days after his 2nd place at the Coppa Sabatini, Sonny Colbrelli got to celebrate his first victory in the European champion jersey. At the end of the one-day race Memorial Marco Pantani, Team Bahrain Victorious’s Italian fastman was the strongest rider in the sprint of a 15-rider group.
The week after the European championships was packed with various races. Just in Italy three one-day races were contested with the Giro della Toscana, the Coppa Sabatini and the Memorial Marco Pantani. For Team Bahrain Victorious's Sonny Colbrelli the main goal for this week was to celebrate a first win in the European champion's jersey. At first eight riders from second-division teams took charge of this one-day race leading from Castrocaro Terme to Cesenatico over a distance of 196 kilometers. But this breakaway was brought back with 40 kilometers to go. From there first a dozen riders and then another 13 riders went up the road. Sonny Colbrelli showed great form again, riding strongly on the climbs and making it into the first attack while Hermann Pernsteiner and Stevie Williams bridged over soon after to support him deep into the finale and bring back late attacks - on treacherously wet roads, that is. The race came down to a sprint in the roads of Cesenatico, and Sonny Colbrelli lived up to his status as a pre-race favourite, celebrating that coveted first victory in the European champion's jersey.
This first victory in the white and blue European champion's jersey that Colbrelli won less than a week earlier in Trento came at the third attempt. At the Giro della Toscana Colbrelli was dropped on first ascent of the Monte Serra and later abandoned the race. The only rider of Team Bahrain Victorious to keep himself at the sharp end of the race was Welshman Stevie Williams, finishing in 12th. Just a day later Sonny Colbrelli performed a lot better at the Coppa Sabatini, but he was outnumbered by Team Education First-Nippo who were the only team with two riders in the select group contesting for the win deep into the finale. These two riders played their numerical advantage to perfection, forcing their rivals to chase them down repeatedly. Due to this frantic finale, Sonny Colbrelli ran out of steam on the final kilometer, getting beaten to the line by Michael Valgren.
On Sunday, Team Bahrain Victorious will be competing at the Eschborn Frankfurt Classic. The team's line-up is focussed on delivering Phil Bauhaus to an expected bunch sprint, with Marco Haller, Heinrich Haussler, Jonathan Milan and Marcel Sieberg forming an impressive lead-out. As for the first half of the race that leads through the hilly Taunus region and features a series of climbs, Dylan Teuns and Fred Wright are free to get into breakaways and force other teams to give chase as a consequence. Another rider of the team to compete on Sunday is Jan Tratnik who will be contesting the elite men's individual time trial World championships held in Belgium.
18TH MEMORIAL MARCO PANTANI: CASTROCARO TERME - CESENATICO, 196KM
1. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 4:50.29 hours
2. Vincenzo Albanese, ITA, st
3. Alex Aranburu, ESP, st
69TH COPPA SABATINI: PECCIOLI - PECCIOLI, 210.8KM
1. Michael Valgren, DEN, in 5:14.20 hours
2. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.03
3. Mathieu Burgaudeau, FRA, + 0.06