The Coppa Sabatini saw a slightly bigger than expected bunch arrive at the final together and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) was the days victor. Andrea Pasqualon (Team Roth) was 2nd in the uphill sprint with Carlos Barbero (Caja-Rural) taking 3rd place. Kristian Sbaragli was our best placed rider of the day, in 9th.
The 195km route took in 3 different sized circuits but all would go over the same 1.5km finishing climb. It would be a total of 10 ascents with 6 coming in the final 66km of the race, making for a tough finale. The race started off with only 2 riders getting clear of the peloton. The pack was happy to let the duo gain over 10 minutes before starting to control the gap.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding well as unit, always positioned near the front of the main group together. The race was one which suited our punchy Italian fast man, Kristian Sbaragli and the team were riding in full support of him today. As expected, the circuits would wear down the 2 leaders and automatically the gap started to decrease without too much of an acceleration coming from the main bunch.
It was with 3 laps of the final 12.2km circuit to go, when our African Team decided to take the reigns and make the racing a bit harder. This pretty much nullified the gap to the break and on the penultimate lap, Nic Dougall drove the peloton into the 1.5km finishing climb before Jaco Venter took over on the positive gradient and caught the break.
On the final lap, Ryan Gibbons, our stagiaire did a good strong turn at the head of the race while Mark Cavendish and Jaco Venter continued to help Sbaragli keep position leading into the last climb. The final time up the switchback road to Peccioli was at an extremely high speed and it was actually difficult to gain positions on the twisty road. 44 riders rounded the last bend together and it was strong man’s sprint to the line. Colbrelli took a good win while Sbaragli had to settle for 9th on the day.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
I know this race well, it was the 3rd time I have done it. The result was not the best for us, I took the last corner with 1km to go 2 or 3 spots too far behind. Everyone in front of me was pretty strong so I couldn’t come passed. I only came around 1 guy just before the finish-line. It was a tough finish but the race as a whole was quite slow all day and that was not too good for us. The good thing is the team worked really well and I must say thanks to Cav who was looking after me all day. We are looking to win Beghelli on Sunday, it is a really good race for us so we will give our best.