Nechita storms to victory in Sibiu Tour prologue

In the first five editions of the Sibiu Cycling Tour, no Romanian could celebrate on the top step of the podium as a stage win always eluded the local riders. Today’s prologue of the race’s sixth edition finally brought a Romanian winner as Andrei Nechita (Romanian National Team) beat the time of Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) by two seconds. Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) rounded out the podium.

Chris Butler of Cycling Academy Team was the first rider off the start ramp to tackle the very technical 2.2 km prologue including long stretches on cobbles and almost 20 turns. The parcours started and finished on Piața Mare, taking in several streets in the Historical Centre of Sibiu in between and also crossing the Piața Mare twice for a very spectator-friendly race. The weather held up during the race ensuring fair conditions for everyone, with the rain only starting to come down after the podium ceremony.

Dennis Bakker (Parkhotel Valkenburg) was the first rider to put in a serious time with 3:28.85, but had to leave the hotseat when George Harper (ONE Pro Cycling) set a new best time. Iuri Filosi (Nippo-Vini Fantini) beat Harper but was immediately bettered by Adrian Kurek who spent quite a while in the hotseat as rider after rider failed to beat his time of 3:27.53.

Giacomo Berlato finally got the better of the Pole, but there were still 32 riders to go – and several of them had specifically targeted the prologue. The hopes for a Romanian victory were mostly on the shoulders of Eduard Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) who however fell two seconds short of Berlato’s time. Disappointment turned into jubilation as the very next rider, Andrei Nechita, clocked a time of 3:25.77 and took the lead. Nobody came close to this time, and when defending champion Mauro Finetto (Unieuro Wilier) finished in the sixth-best time, the first Romanian stage victory in the history of the Sibiu Cycling Tour was reality.

With his stage win, Nechita takes the yellow jersey for the overall leader as well as the red jersey for the best Romanian, which will however be on the shoulders of Grosu for tomorrow’s stage 1. Hayden McCormick (ONE Pro Cycling) was the best U23 rider and will wear the orange jersey tomorrow.

After the podium ceremony, Nechita saheader: no #id: “I’m so happy that I won! The past few weeks I wasn’t able to train much as I was ill. I came to the race wanting to show that I am a good rider, but winning the prologue is a pleasant surprise to me. Tomorrow I will enjoy the day in the leader’s jersey, but even if I still wear yellow on stage 2, I won’t be able to defend it on the slopes of Păltiniș. I went well there in the last two years, but this year I just don’t have the level necessary to climb with the best. Nonetheless, I hope that this success will get me noticed and that a Western European team gives me a chance.”

Sibiu Tour 2016 – prologue results:

1 Andrei Nechita (Romania)

00:03:25

2 Giacomo Berlato (Nippo – Vini Fantini)

+02”

3 Adrian Kurek (CCC)

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4 Iuri Filosi (Nippo – Vini Fantini)

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5 George Harper (ONE)

+03”

6 Mauro Finetto (Unieuro Wilier)

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7 Dennis Bakker (Parkhotel Valkenburg)

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8 Eduard Grosu (Nippo – Vini Fantini)

+04”

9 Maros Kovac (Dukla Banska)

+05”

10 Davide Vigano (Androni – Sidermec)

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