Gazprom-RusVelo crush the opposition in Coppi e Bartali
Gazprom-Rusvelo made use of all their track experience to claim a dominant victory in the special team time trial at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali.
In a stage where the teams were split into two 4-rider teams, Alexander Serov, Arthur Ershov, Artem Ovechkin and Kirill Sveshnikov were 12 seconds faster than the Rally team and 13 seconds faster than Uniero which was enough to put Ershov into the overall lead.
Gazprom-Rusvelo knew that they were among the favourites so they sacrificed GC rider Sergey Firsanov and Alexander Foliforov who were part of the B team while they gathered their specialists Alexander Serov, Arthur Ershov, Artem Ovechkin and Kirill Sveshnikov in the A team. They turned out to be in a class of their own as they won the race with a 12-second advantage.
Rally Pro Cycling were always going to be one of the favourites and the team turned out to be the best of the rest. However, they were probably surprised that it was their B team of Jesse Anthony, Evan Huffman, Pierrick Naud and Danny Pate that did best while the A team had to settle for ninth. However, that put Huffman and Pate in a good position to go for GC.
Among the GC riders, Mauro Finetto could be very pleased as his Uniero team was a surprise third, just 13 seconds behind the winners, while Matteo Busato, Andrea Fedi, Daniel Martinez and Julen Amezqueta started well for Southeast by taking fourth. Riding for the Italian national team, Rinaldo Nocentini had a good start with fifth as was the case for Androni climbers Egan Bernal, Rodolfo Torres and Francesco Gavazzi who were sixth.
Team Sky had a disappointing day as their two teams had to settle for 8th and 10th, with the B team of Phil Deignan, David Lopez, Danny van Poppel and Alex Peters doing best. In his debut for Sky, Mikel Landa and teammates Sebastian Henao, Gianni Moscon and Xabier Zandio lost 21 seconds.
Ershov was the best rider from the winning quartet in the morning stage and so takes the overall lead in the same time as his teammates. However, he is likely to slip down in tomorrow’s second stage which offers the first serious climbing. After a flat start the riders will do two laps of a 22.1km circuit with the steef Monte Tiffi climb that they will do a total of three times. From the top, there are just 8.7km from the finish and it all ends with a narrow, cobbled 280m climb to the finish.