Sonny Colbrelli wins Tour de Suisse stage
After a lackluster performance without a single top10 result at the Critérium du Dauphiné Sonny Colbrelli put the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM back on track in the third stage of the Tour de Suisse: The Italian beat some of the world’s fastest sprinters after a tough finale, getting his 2nd personal win of the season.
For the Tour de Suisse the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM fielded a seriously strong team: The Izagirre brothers Ion and Gorka are the protected riders for the overall standings while Sonny Colbrelli can count on the team’s support for the sprint stages. Back this up with the experience of Kristijan Koren and Enrico Gasparotto and Mark Padun and Hermann Pernsteiner having shown strong form recently, the team is stacked with quality riders. No wonder these seven riders started the Tour de Suisse well, conceding just 36 seconds to team BMC as the winners of the opening team time trial over 18 kilometers. More importantly, the team finished the stage in 7th and only lost 16 seconds to the second-fastest team, keeping its captains in contention for the overall standings. As for the finale of the second stage of this one-week race, the riders in red, gold and dark blue showed quite some aggression: Mark Padun attacked on his own, was caught soon after but still had enough left in his tank to cross the finish line in 5th, with this teammate Enrico Gasparotto on his wheel in 6th.
The third stage featured a number of tricky climbs on the finishing circuit around the finishing town of Gansingen. At first, three early attackers took the spotlight, but this group fell apart on the final loops in the pouring rain, and the remnants of the group and a counter-attack were mopped up with nine kilometers to go. Unsurprisingly more attacks followed up the last cat3 climb, keeping the speed high and shelling some sprinters from the peloton. On the wet roads and after the last descent, only a few teams had enough riders left to organize their efforts. The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM still had four riders in the first group, so Sonny Colbrelli could count on the support of three teammates. Still, Arthur Vichot attacked with one kilometer to go, trying to catch out the sprint specialists. When the gap to the Frenchman could not be closed fast enough, Sonny Colbrelli went all in and set off in pursuit. Thanks to the tailwind this daring move paid off, as Colbrelli managed to beat big names such as Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria to the finish line. This was his second individual win of the season and his second victory in a World Tour race.
The week before the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM focused all of its forces on protecting its captain Vincenzo Nibali at the Critérium du Dauphiné. But after the team had lost more than two minutes in the team time trial, the ambitions for the overall standings were gone. The team also missed out on a top10 result in the two early transitional stages. As for the mountain stages, Vincenzo Nibali managed to match the pace of the fastest climbers for most of the final climbs of the initial two stages. But he lost a lot of time in the two conclusive mountain stages. Still, Nibali was unfazed after the one-week stage race, pointing at a lack of explosiveness due to the hard training block he had gone through in the lead-up to the race. He also said that this year’s Dauphiné had been a very hard stage and he still had three weeks to fine-tune his form and roll to the start of the Tour de France in the best form possible.
82ND TOUR DE SUISSE
STAGE 3: OBERSTAMMHEIM - GANSINGEN, 182KM
1. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 4:39.51 hours
2. Fernando Gaviria, COL, st
3. Peter Sagan, SVK, st