Elia Viviani sprints to Coppi e Bartali stage 2a
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Elia Viviani sprints to Coppi e Bartali stage 2a

by Ben Atkins at 9:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Liquigas-Cannondale’s track specialist re-finds his winning legs in the morning’s first semitappa

elia vivianiElia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) made a return to the winning ways that he enjoyed in February with victory in stage 2a of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, starting and finishing in the seaside town of Gatteo. The 23-year-old from the Veneto was first across the line at the end of the 99.5km semitappa, ahead of Argentinian Maximiliano Richeze (Team Nippo) and fellow young Italian sensation Enrico Battaglin (Colnago-CSF Inox).

After a fast, flat opening 20km, Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare) managed to force himself clear of the peloton; the American was quickly joined by Swiss rider Raymond Kunzli (Spidertech p/b C10), and the pair was allowed to build a lead of 1’40” by the time they reached the 30km point.

As the duo approached the foot of the Sogliano al Rubicone, the first of the two climbs of the day, Kunzli was unable to handle the pace of Louder and the American went on alone. As he crested the top, after 53km, Louder was 36 seconds ahead of the Swiss rider, and 1’10” ahead of the peloton, which was being led by Astana, Lampre-ISD and Acqua & Sapone.

The pace of the peloton increased on the descent and quickly closed in on the lone Louder and, as he arrived at the foot of the Passo delle Siepi after 58km, he was just 8 seconds clear.

Louder was caught as the climb began and the counterattacks started immediately, with Jose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) getting away. Over the top, after 64km, he had a slim eight second lead over a group of around 25 riders, which was being led by Carlos Betancur, Francesco Reda, Stefano Garzelli and Danilo Di Luca (and Acqua e Sapone).

Rujano was soon pulled back by the first group but, as the race entered the final 30km, the peloton was in three pieces. In the lead was a group of around 25 riders, another of around 20 - including yellow jersey Andrea Palini (Team Idea) and most of the sprinters - was 25 seconds back, but the main group was now 1’20” behind.

On the flat run back to Gatteo the two front groups came together but, despite a hard chase from the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team at the head of the main peloton, the gap was getting wider.

Liquigas-Cannondale and Astana were working hard at the head of the front group to make sure that the main peloton would not make contact. Into the final kilometres though, Team NetApp came forward to try to set it up for Austrian Daniel Schorn; as the Itlain sprinters found out so often in February though, Elia Viviani was the fastest on the line to take his sixth win of the season so far.

Fourth place for Palini meant that the Team Idea sprinter held on to the overall lead, heading in to the afternoon’s 14.9km team time trial.

Result stage 2a
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas Cannondale
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Team Nippo
3. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
4. Andrea Palini (Ita) Team Idea
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana
7. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) Androni Giocattoli
8. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team Netapp
9. Francesco Reda (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
10. Matteo Fedi (Ita) Utensilnord-Named

Standings after stage 2a
1. Andrea Palini (Ita) Team Idea

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