Gilbert Sixth in Nail-Biting Tre Valli Varesine27. September 2016, Varese (ITA) — Road Team
Philippe Gilbert sprinted to sixth place in the nail-biting finale of Tre Valli Varesine which saw a select group battle to the line, with Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) taking the win.
The peloton enjoyed a relaxed start to the 192.9km one-day race with a 3-rider breakaway going clear and gaining a nine-minute advantage on the initial 77km loop. As the race reached the first of 9 laps of the 12.8km circuit, the peloton picked up the pace to bring the race back together.
With the breakaway reeled in 50km before the finish line there was plenty of time for multiple attacks to go off the front, including those with Alessandro De Marchi and Damiano Caruso.
BMC Racing Team took control of the race with three laps remaining and set a high pace that made attacks difficult in the closing stages of the race.
Eventually it came down to a group of around 30 riders, including Gilbert, who went clear in the final 2km. Although a four-rider group looked set to challenge for the win the larger group with Gilbert caught brought it back together 500m before the line, setting the stage for the reduced-bunch sprint.
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“It was really hard. I was feeling ok and I always like when it’s a circuit race, any type of circuit. We decided to control the race with three laps to go because it was a bit out of control and we didn’t want a group to go away in case we didn’t have anyone in there. That’s why we tried to regroup and work together as a team and I think it was a good decision. Of course I was maybe alone in the last 2 or 3km but that’s a risk you take. In the finale I was between the two group but then we came back together and it came down to a sprint. It wasn’t the best result and it wasn’t the worst result.”
“Many guys say that Giro del Piemonte, my next race, is completely flat. Others say that there are some little climbs at the end so we’ll have to see when we get out there and until we see the official parcours we don’t know how it will go.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“At the end it was a small group arriving at the finish line with Philippe Gilbert. We controlled the race in the final three laps to keep the pace high and stop any attacks as Philippe was feeling good. He was hoping to attack on the last climb and he was good, but not good enough to go early. He was able to stay up there to contest the sprint.”
“The team worked really hard today. Alessandro De Marchi and Damiano Caruso jumped in two different breakaways but it was clear that there were a lot of teams chasing hard and the race came back together on many occasions. That is why we wanted to bring Philippe to the finale with a good positon as he is one of our faster guys. We didn’t get the win but I’m very happy with how the team worked and their ability to control the race.”
Tre Valli Varesine
Saronno > Varese (192.9km)
Top 3: 1. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), 2. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), 3. Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 6. Philippe Gilbert, 47. Alessandro De Marchi, 50. Damiano Caruso