Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattolli) sprinted to victory at the Memorial Marco Pantani. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) finished in 2nd place and Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattolli) placed 3rd.
The Memorial Marco Pantani was a race of two halves today, with an early break animating the opening 100km of the race. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) wasn’t waiting around for the peloton to control the gap all the way to the line, and attacked with 98km to go, on the 2nd ascent of the Montevecchio climb.
A flurry of counter attacks followed behind the Colombian’s acceleration, resulting in a new lead group of 18 riders forming at the front of the race. Serge Pauwels made the selection for our African Team, as they pulled away from the reduced peloton.
The lead group kept the pace high and the gap continued to open to the chasing bunch. With 15km to go, the main field gave up the chase with Pauwels group over 2’45” ahead of them at that point. With no real climb or undulations on the finishing circuit in Cesenatico, the race would end in a group sprint for the lead group.
Ballerini was the fastest from the group, taking the win. Pauwels, renowned more for his climbing ability, finished in 13th place in the sprint for the line.
Serge Pauwels – Rider
I was happy and excited to be back racing again for Dimension Data after my crash in the Tour. The Memorial Pantani is usually decided on a climb which we do 3 times halfway through the race. I made the front selection over it the third time. The final was flat and Androni who had 4 guys in the front group controlled the race for their sprinter. I am happy with my shape after my injury and I feel ready going to Worlds next week.