Sonny Colbrelli is European champion
Sonny Colbrelli showed that he currently is in top form at the elite men’s European championships in Trento, Italy. In a nail-biter of a finale the Italian national champion of Team Bahrain Victorious would neither be caught off guard nor get dropped by Remco Evenepoel, taking the sprint for the win against the Belgian by multiple bike lengths. Earlier on in the race Mikel Landa, Mark Padun and Matej Mohoric had been animating the European continental championship race.
At the European road cycling championships, no less than nine riders of Team Bahrain Victorious lined up on Sunday for the elite pro men’s race - wearing the outfits of their respective national federations but riding their trusted MERIDA BIKES. Matej Mohoric and Domen Novak signed in for Slovenia, Hermann Pernsteiner and Marco Haller for Austria, Sonny Colbrelli for Italy, Gino Mäder for Switzerland, Mark Padun for the Ukraine, Dylan Teuns for Belgium and Mikel Landa for Spain. The course in the Northern Italian province of Trentino was not short on climbing. Over a distance of just under 180 kilometers the vertical meters of ascending summed up to 3435 meters. For this reason most pundits were looking for good climbers as the pre-race favourites - or sprinters who were hard to drop on climbs. One of those is Sonny Colbrelli who had been racing in great form recently at the Tour of Benelux, winning the one-week race’s general classification.
But at first the Spanish and the French national teams took charge of things with a barrage of attacks, upping the pace and enforcing a twelve-rider breakaway to form. One of the riders in that group was Mikel Landa. But not all teams were happy with this race scenario and all the groups came back together. The next rider of Team Bahrain Victorious to attack was Matej Mohoric, but this rang the alarm with pretty much all other large nations and they joined forces to get him back. Then Mark Padun made it into a high-profile group that would not get a decisive gap either, however. As the race went into its final phase, the Belgian team set a very fast pace, reducing the first group on the road rider by rider. In this critical phase of the race Sonny Colbrelli could rely on the support of his compatriot Matteo Trentin.
On the penultimate lap, Sonny Colbrelli fully focussed on the wheel of Remco Evenepoel, and thanks to this he was able to follow the Belgian's acceleration on the Povo climb. The only other rider to do so was Frenchman Benoît Cosnefroy, but he got dropped early on when the trio tackled the climb one last climb. Sonny Colbrelli went ever so deep to stay on the wheel of Evenepoel. The young Belgian accelerated a couple of times, but Colbrelli would not break, hung on and put the young Belgian into the leading position for most of the following descent to the finish line. Getting visibly upset by the reigning Italian national champion's tactically clever riding, Evenepoel gestured angrily more than once. Like a true professional, Sonny Colbrelli answered with his legs, leaving Evenepoel in his dust in a sprint on cobblestones. With the win in Trento, Sonny Colbrelli adds the European road racing championship to his Italian national champion title.
6TH UEC EUROPEAN ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS, ELITE MEN
TRENTO - TRENTO, 179.2 KILOMETERS:
1. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA, in 4:19.45 hours
2. Remco Evenepoel, BEL, st
3. Benoît Cosnefroy, FRA, + 1.30