Sonny Colbrelli triumphs at GP Beghelli
At the end of the 24th edition of the Italian one-day race Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, Sonny Colbrelli crowned a strong performance by winning the sprint of a high-profile group of riders. This was the 17th win of the season for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM. At the CRO Race the team showed quality in numbers with three different riders finishing on stage podiums.
With a distance of almost 200 kilometers and ten local laps around the town of Monteveglio, the one-day race Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli offers chances both for sprinters who can survive some climbs and for attackers. After all the Zappolino climb needs to be ridden on each lap. Sonny Colbrelli had already won this race back in 2015 and only got beaten by solo winner Luis Leon Sanchez in 2017. Thus he was the designated captain of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, with Phil Bauhaus serving as the team’s backup option for a full-out sprint of the entire peloton. These two riders could rely on the support of Yukiya Arashiro, Ivan Cortina, Andrea Garosio and Marcel Sieberg. Thus the team was ready for different scenarios.
At first three riders from smaller teams took center stage: The trio attacked early, quickly expanded its lead to ten and a half minutes but was caught with 42 kilometers to go. In the final hour of racing two attacks of a number of well-known riders got neutralized with the riders in red, gold and dark blue doing their share of the work. Then a strong seven-rider group went up the road, and the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM was the only team to have two riders in that group. Ivan Cortina sacrificed his own ambitions to support Sonny Colbrelli in the finale and mark all rivals. This team work paid off as Sonny Colbrelli handsomely won the sprint ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Jack Haig, celebrating his third individual win of the season and the 17th seasonal win of the team.
At the CRO Race stage race held in Croatia, the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM lost Matej Mohoric as its designated captain for the overall standings after only two days. Mohoric had finished the first two stages in 10th and 7th respectively and had won enough bonification seconds at intermediate sprints to move into 3rd in the individual standings. But right after crossing the finish line in Zadar, an inattentive spectator brought down a number of riders. In this crash Mohoric broke mutliple ribs that pierced his lung, effectively finishing his season prematurely. His team mates showed great morals in this situation: At the end of the third stage that had to be shortened due to strong winds, Grega Bole sprinted to a 2nd place, and the day after it was Heinrich Haussler who sprinted to 3rd after a late attack from Jan Tratnik had been neutralized.
As for the Queen’s stage, at first Grega Bole rode into the spot lights. Ranked in 3rd in the overall standings after four stages, the experienced rider from Slovenia tried to get a head start over the strong climbers but was caught with 25 kilometers to go. From there Domen Novak showed his class, keeping up with the group of overall contenders on the long climb up to Platak and being the only rider trying to follow Adam Yates’ acceleration with four kilometers to go. Novak entered the finishing straight in 2nd only to get passed by three riders on the last hundred meters and finish in 5th. Thanks to this performance he also moved up to 5th in the overall standings, defending this position without any problems on the last day. At the end of the conclusive stage Jan Tratnik missed out on the first stage win for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM at this stage race by a mere fifty meters, crossing the finish line in 2nd behind the solo winner.
As for the Giro dell’Emilia, the riders in red, gold and dark blue did not get that close to the victory. The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM has fond memories of this one-day race as it had scored a spectacular one-two in 2017. At first Vincenzo Nibali rode attentively in the finale, neutralizing a number of attacks with Alejandro Valverde. But with two kilometers to go Nibali’s tank was empty and he had to let a high-quality group go, including all the top finishers.
24TH GRAN PREMIO BRUNO BEGHELLI: MONTEVEGLIO - MONTEVEGLIO, 199.3KM
1. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 4:35.59 hours
2. Alejandro Valverde, ESP, st
3. Jack Haig, AUS, st
5TH CRO RACE, STAGE 3: OKRUG - MAKARSKA, 63.5KM
1. Yevgeniy Gidich, KAZ, in 1:32.21 hours
2. Grega Bole, SLO/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, st
3. Alex Edmondson, AUS, st
STAGE 4: STARIGRAD - GORSKI KOTAR, 155KM
1. Dusan Rajovic, SRB, in 3:30.24 hours
2. Paolo Simion, ITA, st
3. Heinrich Haussler, AUS/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, st
STAGE 6: SVETA NEDELJA - ZAGREB, 154KM
1. Alessandro Fedeli, ITA, in 3:22.14 hours
2. Jan Tratnik, SLO/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, + 0.02
3. Florian Kierner, AUT, st