Kristian Sbaragli continued to show off his good form today at the GP de Denain. The young Italian sprinter was able to get up for 10th place today after Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) took out the victory ahead of Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) and Francesco Chicci (Neri Sottoli).
In a race that was billed to finish in a bunch sprint, 6 riders escaped early on and pushed out a lead of over 4 minutes but to no avail. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung tried to make the race more selective by using the slight crosswinds to put the peloton in the gutter with 50km to go. Unfortunately the wind wasn’t blowing hard enough and while splits were caused by the African team, a general regrouping would occur as the wind died down. The pressure applied by Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung did reduce the gap to the break dramatically though and they were eventually reeled in with 18km to go.
In the run in to the line, Team Europcar and IAM Cycling would ensure a high pace was set. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung seemed to be a bit too far back with 3km to go but Sbaragli then used some real craft to hop from wheel to wheel in order to get into a good position the final km. Sbaragli would eventually come off the wheels of the Lotto-Belisol train with 250m to go. The slight downhill to the line would not suit the Italian as he has proven to be more effective on sprints which are slightly uphill. With 50m to go, the Italian was in 2nd place but unfortunately ran out of steam over the final meters and finished in 10th.
Rider – Kristian Sbaragli
Today the sprint was really fast as it was a slight downhill gradient to the line. This was not so ideal for me but my shape is good at the moment so i had a go. On Saturday we race Tour du Finistere and it could suit me better so i hope to do a good race there.
Directeur Sportif – Manel Lacambra
The team was good today, they all stuck together for most of the race keeping each other out of the wind. In the final sprint Kristian jumped a little to early but it was good for him to get 10th after he did a hard race of yesterday. The other sprinters didn’t race yesterday so this gives us confidence for the upcoming 2 races.
GP de Denain – (France) – (17 April/UCI 1.1) Team Lineup
Staff: Manel Lacambra (Directeur Sportif), Yvonne Houweling (Soigneur), Nico Beyens (Soigneur), Andreas Beck-Watt (Mechanic)