Caruso and Colbrelli both win on Sunday
At the conclusive day of the Vuelta a Burgos Mikel Landa had missed out on both the stage win and the victory in the overall standings, finishing in 2nd. On Sunday Damiano Caruso capped off a strong performance at the Circuito de Getxo one-day race with a solo win. Less than one hour later Sonny Colbrelli doubled up for Team Bahrain-McLaren by sprinting to the win at the end of the second stage of the Route d’Occitanie.
The course of the one-day race Circuito de Getxo was undulating, featuring six local laps and one longer lap through the backcountry of the Basque metropolis of Bilbao, including the hard climb of Pike Ridea. The day’s early attackers got caught before the riders were heading into this conclusive loop of 25 kilometers, but this would not quiet down the situation on the road. Much to the opposite the attacks came thick and fast, so Mikel Landa decided to give Team Bahrain-McLaren a break from chasing by joining one of those attacks. This caused quite some confusion with some other teams who frantically joined forces to get Landa back. On the ramps of the Pike Ridea it was up to Pello Bilbao and Damiano Caruso to neutralize or join the various attacks. As a consequence, these two riders jumped away from the main group with four others.
With twelve kilometers to go this lead group was cut in half as three riders crashed in a roundabout. Both Damiano Caruso and Pello Bilbao got through with no issues and started to take turns in attacking their last companion Nelson Oliveira. With eight kilometers to go, Damiano Caruso mounted the decisive attack. While Oliveira and Bilbao dropped back to the chasing group, Caruso extended his lead to 25 seconds, and when he hit the final ascent to the finish line he still had nine seconds left. This proved to be enough for the experienced Italian all-rounder to secure the win - only his second individual win as a professional and a more than deserved pay-back for the enormous amounts of work that Damiano Caruso usually cranks out in support of his team mates. With Bilbao in 6th, a second rider of Team Bahrain-McLaren finished in the top10 as well.
But on this particular Sunday that still was not all as the second stage of the Route d’Occitanie held in Southwestern France offered sprinters a chance to get even and to do better than the day before at the end of the opening stage. Sonny Colbrelli had sprinted to a 3rd place behind Bryan Coquard and Elia Viviani that day, so it was no surprise to see Team Bahrain-McLaren contributing to the chase of the early attackers on the way to Cap Découverte. Danish rider Emil Vinjebo was the last rider to be caught with tree kilometers to go. From here Sonny Colbrelli got on the right wheels and managed to win the bunch sprint - his first win of the season. For the versatile Italian sprinter who excels in foul weather and on cobblestones, this is unlikely to remain his sole win of the season.
75TH CIRCUITO DE GETXO-MEMORIAL HERMANOS OTXOA: GETXO - GETXO, 177KM
1. Damiano Caruso, ITA/Team Bahrain-McLaren, in 4:11.09 hours
2. Giacomo Nizzolo, ITA, + 0.01
3. Eduard Prades, ESP, st
44TH LA ROUTE D’OCCITANIE - LA DÉPÊCHE DU MIDI
STAGE 2: CARCASSONNE - CAP DÉCOUVERTE, 174.5KM
1. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/Team Bahrain-McLaren, in 4:22.23 hours
2. Bryan Coquard, FRA, st
3. Niccolo Bonifazio, ITA, st