Kolobnev fourth in Giro dell’Emilia, disappointed about world championship result
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kolobnev fourth in Giro dell’Emilia, disappointed about world championship result

by Shane Stokes at 12:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Fall Classics
Will aim to better his 2009 third place in Tour of Lombardy

Alexandr KolobnevRussian rider Alexandr Kolobnev netted fourth in today’s Giro dell’Emilia in Italy, crossing the line nine seconds after the winner Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and runner-up Dan Martin (Garmin Transitions).

The result shows him that he has arrived back from Australia in strong form, and is on course for a good ride in the Tour of Lombardy next weekend. The race is his big end of season goal now that the world championships didn’t go as he had hoped.

Kolobnev was third last year behind Cadel Evans (Australia) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain). He was one of the most aggressive riders this time round, attacking on several occasions on the final two laps, but being unable to snap the elastic.

The race eventually came down to a bunch sprint, where Thor Hushovd (Norway) won. Kolobnev netted a respectable seventh place, yet said this week that he was disappointed with that result. “What I did in Melbourne was what I would have done if I had stayed at home,” he said, presumably meaning that the result was worthless to him. “He who won [Hushovd] was the one you’d least expect and the most quiet, but also respected a clear threat with a finish like this. But I am happy that he won - he is a good rider, strong and brave.”

Kolobnev doesn’t show his strength too regularly each season, yet has a knack of being able to hit top form for the biggest one-day events. He was second behind the Italian Paolo Bettini in the 2007 worlds, finished third in the Olympic road race (elevated from fourth due to Davide Rebellin’s) positive test, and took that silver medal last year in Mendrisio. He also netted second in the 2010 Liège-Bastogne Liège.

Because of those close calls, he went to Geelong hoping that it could finally be his year to top the podium. Initially, he though the course might be hard enough, but then indecision crept in. “We all did a reconnaissance of the circuit and initially it didn’t seem suitable for pure sprinters,” he said. “However after statements from those such as Cavendish and Farrar talking about their good feelings that it would end in a sprint, that caused uncertainty about how the finish would really be.”

In the end, both of those riders were dropped, but the circuit was not hard enough to see off Hushovd, nor to allow a smaller group to get clear. “There were many moments where things could have worked out differently, but in the end Italians, Belgians [shaped things],” he said. “We all wanted to do our own race, to make it difficult and to hurt the others, but the circuit was not difficult enough.”

The same can’t be said about next Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy, which has plenty of climbs that will fracture the peloton. Kolobnev was third there last year and will line out determined to finally shake off the pattern of near-misses.


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