Team Type 1 Sanofi hails mixed success as extreme weather sweeps Europe
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Team Type 1 Sanofi hails mixed success as extreme weather sweeps Europe

by Ben Atkins at 8:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Podium places in Reggio Calabria; Plans foiled by snow in Tour Mediterranéen

Daniele ColliTeam Type 1-Sanofi continued its European campaign this weekend with the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria and the Tour Mediterranéen. With the extreme winter weather that is sweeping the continent though, the team enjoyed considerable success where it was warmer, while it found its plans frustrated by snow-shortened stages elsewhere.

In Reggio Calabria, the team’s Italian sprinter Daniele Colli sprinted to second place in both stages – behind Liquigas-Cannondale’s flying Elia Viviani – and finished the race in second overall. With the unusually cold weather that has gripped much of Europe this month, for Colli, who comes from Milan, it was nice to be able to race in the relative warmth of the region around the toe of Italy.

"It's snowing at my home in northern Italy this weekend, and everywhere else in Europe it has been freezing and windy," said Colli.

The first stage of the race resulted in a sprint with the entire peloton, while the second stage offered more of a challenge to the sprinters.

"Sunday was harder, because there was a climb near the end, and only 50 riders made it into the selection,” Colli explained. “I'm very happy with 2nd, because on a flat sprint I was second behind [Viviani], and he is the best in the world right now. For me this weekend was the same as a victory, and seeing the team work well together makes me confident for the next races in the season."

Elsewhere in Europe the weather was far less comfortable, with even the most southerly areas of France affected by heavy snow. This meant that changes were forced upon the stages of the Tour Mediterranéen, with the usual deciding climb up the step slopes of Mont Faron, on the outskirts of Toulon, cut out because of heavy snow.

This disappointed another of the team’s new riders, Julien EL Fares, who won a stage of the 2010 race and was hoping for further success in this year’s edition.

"We were supposed to do the Mont Faron climb and race 100km on Sunday, but it began snowing at 11 am,” the Frenchman explained. “Race organisers cancelled the final ascent and pushed the finish line back to the top of an earlier climb.

“In doing this quickly they showed a very high level of concern for riders' safety and made the right choice,” he acknowledged, “but they also had no time to move any of the signs on the road that tell us how much distance is left to race.”

El Fares ended the stage in seventh place; taking third in the sprint from the first big peloton on the road, some 27 seconds behind stage – and overall – winner Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing).

Team Type 1 general manager Vassili Davidenko was equally disappointed that his new rider was unable to compete for the stage victory.

"El Fares won this same stage two years ago, and he was ready to do it again on Sunday,” he said. “After the mountains were also removed from Saturday's stage because of snow and ice, and more than 90 riders were tied for 8th place on GC, we really had high hopes that Mont Faron would be our chance to attack and demonstrate the depths of our talent. Unfortunately the coldest winter storm in Toulon since 1985 moved in and pushed our plans back a week or so."

The team’s next race will be the Tour du Haut-Var, where another of the team’s new French signings.

"Julien Antomarchi won a stage here last year and it's what really brought him to the world's attention,” explained Davidenko. “We are lucky to have signed him to Team Type 1-Sanofi, and we'll have a very strong squad line up for the first live televised race of the French season next weekend."

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