The Gran Piemonte took place over a circular 185km route in Italy today with Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) taking the win after outwitting the sprinters with a late attack. Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) was 2nd and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) was 3rd.
For the first time in a while at an Italian one day race, an early break was allowed to dominate proceedings for most of the race as 13 riders went clear early on and established a 4 minute lead. It was then a controlled chase throughout the day by a few of the World Tour teams that saw the original escape neutralised with 8km to go.
It was looking like a typical sprinters race but Bakelants had other ideas when he attacked with 5km to go. The Belgian was able to get 10 seconds advantage before MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and Etixx-Quickstep led the charge from the peloton. The wet roads gave the advantage to Bakelants as the chase had to err on the side of caution going through the final few corners.
Bakelants was just too strong in the end and crossed the line just seconds ahead of the strung out line of sprinters. Our Italian, Kristian Sbaragli would cross the line in 8th place, the 31st time Kristian has finished with a top 10 result this year.
Kevin Campbell – Sport Director
It was a very wet, very cold and very slippery race. Kristian and Jaco rode really well but it was a bit of a lottery going into those final corners. Kristian is on great form but sometimes it doesn’t always go the sprinters way, like today. Jaco really did a brilliant support ride though and Louis was just unlucky to puncture at a difficult time in the race when the car couldn’t get to him straightaway.