Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) continued his fine run of late-season form by winning the Giro dell’Emilia with a confident performance on climb to the finish atop the Colle di San Luca, near Bologna.
Winner of Milano-Torino and the Coppa Sabatini in recent weeks, Ulissi entered the Giro dell’Emilia as pre-race favourite and he was duly in the leading group of twelve when the race hit the foot of the steep climb of San Luca for the fourth and final time.
The highly-touted Cannondale stagiaire David Villella – who will continue with the team on a full-time basis next year – was the first man to try his luck on the final climb, and his sharp acceleration with a little over a kilometre to go splintered the group of leaders.
Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) led the chase, and his efforts brought his teammate Francesco Manuel Bongiorno across, along with Ulissi. Zardini continued to force the pace in the leading quartet as they entered the final 700 metres, as he tried to set up Bongiorno for the finish.
Ulissi was merely sizing up the situation and biding his time for the right moment to strike, however, and he was wholly unperturbed when Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Venezuela) and Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo-Tinkoff) grimly inched their way back up to the leaders with 500 metres to go.
Just as he had done at Superga in the finale of Milano-Torino, and again at Peccioli midweek, Ulissi timed his effort to perfection and bounded clear of the leading group as the road pitched up towards the finish line to claim victory ahead of Sorensen, while Villella held off Pellizotti for fourth.
There was a rapid start to proceedings as soon as the peloton was flagged away from the shadow of Modena’s Palazzo Ducale, and the bunch covered over 50 kilometres in a frantic opening hour of racing where no breakaway gained more than 15 seconds.
The first move to gain any traction came after 68 kilometres, when Nicki Sorensen (Saxo-Tinkoff), Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida) and Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) led a 12-man break off the front of the peloton.
Atop the climb of Badolo, with 75 kilometres remaining, the twelve held a lead of two minutes over the main peloton, which was now being led by Cannondale, and the escapees maintained an advantage of 1:25 by the time they reached the finishing circuit in Bologna.
The first two ascents of the San Luca had the twin effect of splitting both the leading group and the main peloton, and with a little over ten kilometres to go, Antonio Parinello (Androni-Venezuela) held a slender lead over a reduced bunch that was now being led by Lampre-Merida.
After Parinello was brought back, a five-man move featuring Damiano Cunego, Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Oliver Zaugg (Saxo-Tinkoff), Emanuele Sella (Androni-Venezuela) and Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) ghosted clear on the penultimate lap, but they, too, were swept back up on the final lap.
From there, the stage was set for the final ascent of San Luca, and with Michele Scarponi and Ulissi still in the leading group, Lampre-Merida looked to have the upper hand. And even though Scarponi was dropped almost as soon as the road climbed upwards towards the finish, Ulissi had the strength and the nous to negotiate the final climb and claim the win.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||5:00:53|
|2||Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||0:00:01|
|3||Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling|
|4||Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:00:04|
|5||Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox||0:00:06|
|6||Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox||0:00:08|
|7||Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia||0:14:00|
|8||Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:27:00|
|9||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||0:29:00|
|10||Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:40:00|
|11||Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:46:00|
|12||Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice||0:49:00|
|13||Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale||0:01:26|
|14||Riccardo Chiarini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:01:37|
|15||Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli|
|16||Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida||0:01:43|
|17||Alessandro Proni (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia||0:01:53|
|18||Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:01:55|
|19||Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||0:02:19|
|20||Darwin Atapuma Hurta (Col) Colombia||0:02:21|
|21||Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli||0:03:15|
|22||Ieso Donato De (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox||0:03:21|
|23||Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling||0:03:41|
|24||Sergey Firsanov (Rus) RusVelo|
|25||Antonio Santoro (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia-Fondriest||0:04:02|
|26||Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:04:10|
|27||Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:04:22|
|28||Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN-Qhubeka||0:04:23|
|29||Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia||0:04:25|
|30||Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|31||Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia||0:04:39|
|32||Sergei Pomoshnikov (Rus) RusVelo||0:04:49|
|33||Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:05:16|
|34||Davide Mucelli (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia-Fondriest|
|35||Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:06:08|
|36||Mateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice||0:07:30|
|37||Davide Gabburo (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia-Fondriest||0:07:54|
|38||Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team||0:08:54|
|39||Patrick Facchini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:09:21|