Inaugural Colorado Classic victory for Manuel Senni

BMC rider seals first career GC victory in Denver

Having built his overall race lead on stages two and three of the Colorado Classic, Manuel Senni successfully defending his blue jersey on the final day of racing in Denver to secure the win.

The Italian was looked after across the 120km by his BMC Racing team and managed to sprint to tenth place to ensure his 15-second win over Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis). The win is the first of the 25-year-old's career with Senni praising his teammates for letting him enjoy the personal success.

"It's an amazing feeling! I'm very happy. The team did an unbelievable job for me. I have to say thank you one thousand times to my teammates," Senni said. "The team rode for me all day and I was still in the front in the last kilometer to stay out of trouble and take no risk, so I could even do the sprint. I finished tenth, which was enough to keep the jersey. It was perfect."

Senni's second of the season saw the Italian head stateside for the Tour of Utah, where he helped teammate Brent Bookwalter to fifth place and a stage win, and the inaugural Colorado Classic. The high altitude races also featured smaller team than the majority of European races which played into Senni's hand as he explained.

"I think the smaller teams made it easier to attack. It's harder for the teams to organise themselves immediately and start the chase. Like yesterday with the climbs, the group was really small so I could attack and the teams behind didn't have the number of riders to respond. It was a very nice race in general. There are always a lot of people on the road at the American races. I really like to come here to race."

Senni's North American adventure continues next month at the Canadian one-day WorldTour races Quebec and Montreal where BMC will be backing in Greg Van Avermaet to repeat his success from last year.

"Racing in Utah and Colorado at altitude is really good for the shape and condition and my win today definitely gives me more confidence for the rest of the season," said Senni, who moves to Bardiani-CSF next season. "Normally, the plan is to go to Quebec and Montreal next and probably Greg Van Avermaet will be there as the leader, so I will be there to work hard for him. I hope I am still in good form so I can go there and help him even more than I did last year."

A multiple stage winner at the Colorado Coors Classic race in the 1980s, Steve Bauer was in the car as BMC's sports director the stage race. The Canadian explained the final stage played into the team tactics and his riders then played their role to perfection when called upon.

We didn't really even have to ride at the front other than to stay in position with Senni because the sprinters' teams were interested in the sprint," Bauer reflected. "We had Tom Bohli up there to keep things smooth and steady, but the guys were up the front the whole day. They really led the race out in the last kilometer to make sure Senni was in a good position coming into the last turns and it was all good. Senni had one front puncture but Joey Rosskopf stopped and changed the wheel and we were right there so it was a smooth day."

The second Canadian in Tour de France history to wear the yellow jersey, Bauer added that the racing on show at the Colorado Classic was entertaining both riders and fans and believes the model works well.

"There's definitely a place for this style of racing. Shorter stages and shorter races with just four stages and with the smaller teams, it makes for more aggressive racing," he said. "I think it was a factor in Senni's win. After the mountain top yesterday, if there had been eight-rider teams potentially a team could have brought them back with some more horsepower. But, the breakaway was equally strong as the chase so that was an indication that a little change can influence the race dynamic and predictability." 

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