Moser and Sagan take Cannondale Pro Cycling one two in Strade Bianche
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Moser and Sagan take Cannondale Pro Cycling one two in Strade Bianche

by Shane Stokes at 10:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Montepaschi Strade Bianche
Strength and team tactics decide race of the White Roads

Moreno MoserHeading into the race as only a second year professional, 22 year old Moreno Moser showed power and tactics beyond his years when he raced to victory in the Strade Bianche today.

The Cannondale Pro Cycling rider benefited from the presence of his team-mate Peter Sagan in the reduced main bunch, attacking inside the final twenty kilometres, catching and dropping the lone chaser Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil DCM) and then bridging across to the long-time leaders.

He passed a dropped Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli), then picked up Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) prior to reeling in Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Michael Schar (BMC Racing Team) with six kilometres remaining.

Then, as the chasing bunch inched closer inside the steep final kilometre, Moser kicked again and drew clear, riding solo past screaming fans into Sienna’s Piazza del Campo square. Behind, Sagan powered ahead to take second ahead of Rinaldo Nocentini, making it a Cannondale Pro Cycling one-two in Tuscany.

“I knew that with Peter behind in the group, I could try to go alone,” a very satisfied Moser said minutes after the finish. “I used Peter for the win; it is a great victory.”

Asked if it was his best result to date, he agreed that the success exceeded the triumphs of his first pro season, which included two stages plus the overall classification in the Tour of Poland. “I like the white streets [Strade Bianche – ed.] a lot, so I am very happy. I wanted to win this race and I won it.”

Moser, the nephew of multiple Classics winner Francesco Moser, is clearly a rider who can fight for the top one day events. So too Sagan, who went close to the victory today and who quite possibly could have won had he not played the team role to perfection.

As for defending champion Fabian Cancellara, the RadioShack Leopard rider was undoubtedly in good shape but was marked by Sagan each time he moved. He was very frustrated not to have the chance to take his third victory, but Cannondale Pro Cycling’s tactics worked perfectly in containing that threat, nullifying others, and scooping a rare one-two.

How it played out:

The riders lined out in fine weather for the seventh running of the Strade Bianche race, with the normally dusty roads made a little less so by recent rainfall. The sections had dried out since, but there would be less plumes of dust than other years.

Early on, Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Giairo Ermeti (Androni) and Michael Schar (BMC Racing Team) attacked and built a very solid lead. The gap nudged up towards ten minutes with 70 kilometres covered, and extended to a maximum of ten and a half minutes. As the break and bunch began to hit the gravel sections, the peloton monitored the gap and then began to reduce it, with the quartet out front seeing their lead shrink to eight and a half minutes by the halfway point.

This continued to be eroded, slipping to seven minutes with eighty kilometres left, and dropping another minute and a half over the next twenty kilometres. That prompted those out front to step up the pace somewhat, with Schar and Belkov temporarily moving clear of their other two companions on the fifth sector of gravel.

Behind, Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) decided to seize his chance and attacked, opening a gap over the other chasers. He had a three and a half minute gap to close, though, so had a lot of work ahead of him. Further back, the RadioShack and Cannondale Pro Cycling teams led the chase, keeping the gaps respectable but not hammering it just yet.

The action ramps up as the finish edges closer:

Inside the final fifty kilometres, the four leaders were just under four minutes clear of the peloton, with Flecha riding hard in between the two groups. Heading onto the sixth sector with just over 26 kilometres to race, the Spaniard was still two and a half minutes back; he was closing gradually, but seemed to lack the necessary impetus to completely bridge the gap.

His chances of doing so faded when the Astana team ramped up the pace into the final twenty kilometres and towards the second-last sector of gravel roads. The gap began to fall more quickly and, conscious that he and Peter Sagan had the advantage of numbers, Cannondale’s Moser threw down the hammer and caught Flecha. He then pushed on with the Spaniard en tow, doing all of the work and reducing the gap to 48 seconds with fifteen kilometres remaining.

Onto the eighth sector, just 1.1 kilometres in length, the two chasers were 35 seconds back with thirteen kilometres left. Schar was aware of the chase and pushed on in front, with Belkov initially losing a few lengths but being the only one of the break able to claw his way back up.

Moser continued his driving behind and dropped Flecha on an uphill second of the Strade Bianche roads with twelve and a half kilometres left.

Cancellara’s efforts prove fruitless:

Back in the chase group, Cancellara was looking frustrated and was one of several who tried to get clear. However each time he moved, he was closed down by Sagan. Inside the final twelve kilometres, Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale) attacked, and when he was brought back, Cancellara tried unsuccessfully to get clear before Francesco Reda (Androni Giocattoli) also tried his luck. Again, that move was hauled back.

Moser was motoring and caught and passed Saramotins, moving ever closer to the two leaders. With six kilometres left, those two finally bridged across to Schar and Belkov, making it four at the front. Meanwhile the attacks continued behind, with Santos Tour Down Under winner Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) trying to edge ahead, and dragging a small group clear. Also present were Nocentini, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Andrey Amador (Movistar), making it a threatening-looking move.

Schar still had something left and attacked again with 4.7 kilometres left, surging at the moment Moser sat up and gestured for the others to collaborate. That group gradually came back together, while behind the Slagter group was chased down.

Inside the final three kilometres, the chasers were well within sight of the leaders and drew ever-closer going under the flag. It looked like things were going to come back together but Moser had one last card to play, gathering his remaining strength and pushing ahead on the steep drag up towards the finish.

That final effort proved to be enough, with the second year pro soloing in for a superb victory. Behind, his team-mate Sagan burst clear to snatch second, with Nocentini taking third and Cancellara having to be satisfied with fourth.

Strade Bianche, Tuscany, Italy (1.1)

Gaiole in Chianti to Siena:

1, Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling) 188 kilometres in 5 hours 1 min 53 secs
2, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 5 secs
3, Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 7 secs
4, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard)
5, Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling)
6, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team)
7, Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha)
8, Francesco Reda (Androni Giocattoli)
9, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) at 10 secs
10, Maxim Belkov (Katusha) at 13 secs
11, Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) at 15 secs
12, Simone Ponzi (Astana Pro Team) at 17 secs
13, Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Movistar Team)
14, Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana Pro Team) at 19 secs
15, Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (Movistar Team) at mins 21 secs
16, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida)
17, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team) at 23 secs
18, Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
19, Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil-DCM)
20, Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) at 27 secs
21, Michael Schar (BMC Racing Team) at 31 secs
22, Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling)
23, Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) at 44 secs
24, Riccardo Chiarini (Androni Giocattoli) at 1 min 34 secs
25, Pavel Brutt (Katusha) at 1 min 39 secs
26, Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling)
27, Francois Parisien (Team Argos-Shimano)
28, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) at 1 min 43 secs
29, Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli)
30, Lars Petter Nordhaug NO Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
31, Fredrik Kessiakoff SW Astana Pro Team)
32, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Vacansoleil-DCM) at 1 min 58 secs
33, Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) at 2 mins 48 secs
34, Kristjan Koren (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
35, Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil-DCM)
36, Sébastien Delfosse (Crelan-Euphony)
37, Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Movistar Team)
38, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
39, Andrea Pasqualon (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
40, Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack Leopard)
41, Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)
42, Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp)
43, Paul Martens (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
44, Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Movistar Team)
45, Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida) at 2 mins 53 secs
46, Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli) at 6 mins 20 secs
47, Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling) at 6 mins 47 secs
48, Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) at 6 mins 51 secs
49, Dominic Klemme (IAM Cycling) at 6 mins 56 secs
50, Alessandro Vanotti (Astana Pro Team) at 7 mins 25 secs
51, Fabio Sabatini (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 8 mins 8 secs
52, Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
53, Robert Hunter (Garmin-Sharp) at 11 mins 7 secs
54, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
55, Boy Van Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM)
56, Baptiste Planckaert (Crelan-Euphony)
57, Alessandro Malaguti (Androni Giocattoli)
58, Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack Leopard)
59, Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing Team)
60, Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling)
61, Steven Cummings (BMC Racing Team)
62, Brian Vandborg (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
63, Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack Leopard) at 11 mins 20 secs
64, Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard) at 11 mins 48 secs
65, Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team)
66, Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling)
67, Matteo Di Serafino (Androni Giocattoli)
68, Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida)
69, Aleksandr Kuschynski (Katusha)
70, Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM)
71, Wesley Kreder (Vacansoleil-DCM)
72, Tanel Kangert (Astana Pro Team) at 11 mins 53 secs
73, Stijn Steels (Crelan-Euphony) at 12 mins 2 secs
74, Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana Pro Team) at 12 mins 16 secs
75, Klaas Sys (Crelan-Euphony) at 17 mins 33 secs
76, Marco Canola (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
77, Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) at 17 mins 43 secs
78, Christophe Premont (Crelan-Euphony) at 17 mins 46 secs
79, Nicola Boem (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) at 17 mins 49 secs


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