Geniez wins Tre Valli Varesine

AG2R La Mondiale rider wins photo finish over Pinot, Nibali

Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) claimed victory in Tre Valli Varesine after he pipped Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) with a well-timed sprint at the end of a breathless final lap in Varese.

Nibali sparked the decisive move when he accelerated fiercely on the final climb with a shade under three kilometres to go after his teammate Giovanni Visconti had whittled down the front group with a searing display of pace-making. Only Pinot could follow his rasping attack, and the pair built up what initially seemed set to be a winning advantage over the fragmented chasing group.

Pinot and Nibali never quite succeeded in disappearing from sight, however, with Fabio Aru (Astana) and Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) among those to give chase on the shallow haul towards the finish.

Geniez bided his time until the road flattened out inside the final kilometre, and he managed to bridge across to Nibali and Pinot with a little over 500 metres to go. The leading group expanded to a quarter soon afterwards when they were joined by Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates), but the Italian expended so much energy in closing the gap that he made no impact in the sprint and had to settle for fourth.

Pinot opted to open his sprint from distance but while he managed to hold off Nibali's attempt to overhaul him, he was unable to deny Geniez, who gauged his effort smartly and hit the front inside the final 50 metres to take the honours.

Geniez was full value for his victory in what proved to be a most entertaining start to the final trio of races on the Italian calendar. Nibali, Pinot et al will all hope to be in contention for honours again at Milano-Torino on Thursday and at Il Lombardia on Saturday.

The victory in Varese was Geniez's third of the season and his first since his AG2R La Mondiale team sent him home from the Vuelta a España after he was filmed holding onto a team car.

"It's a great feeling to win a race like this at the end of the season," said Geniez, who has enjoyed racing on Italian roads throughout his career and placed 9th at the 2015 Giro d'Italia.

"We looked at the start list this morning and realised it's a real race, and we said we wanted to win it."

Villella took fifth place, 7 seconds down on the leaders, at the head of a chasing group that comprised Sam Oomen (Sunweb), Giovanni Moscon (Sky) and Aru.

How it unfolded

After a rapid start to proceedings, the early break finally took shape after 40 kilometres, when Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Diego Rubio (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Artem Nych (Gazprom Rusvelo), Ettore Carlini (D'Amico Utensilnord) and Marco Bernardinetti (Amore & Vita) forged clear.

That sextet built up a lead in excess of five minutes before first Bahrain-Merida and then Orica-Scott began to work at the head of the peloton to keep their advantage under control as the race hit the nine laps of the 12.5-kilometre finishing circuit around Varese, which included the climb of Montello and the haul towards the finish by way of Piazzale Libertà.

As the race entered the final 50 kilometres, there was a flurry of counter-attacking, while up front, the unity of the leaders had dissipated, and only Turek, Tonelli and Rubio remained from the early break.

They were joined by counter-attackers Carlos Verona (Orica-Scott) and Redi Halilaj (Amore e Vita) with three laps remaining, but the activity of men like Wout Poels (Sky) in the main peloton meant that their advantage now hovered at less than a minute.

After Poels' acceleration on the climb of Montello was snuffed out, Fausto Masnada (Androni-Sidermec) and Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe) succeeded in bridging across to the leaders with 20 kilometres remaining.

On the penultimate lap, as Bahrain-Merida began to wind up the pace in the main peloton after a brief respite, Verona opted to try his luck alone, though he took the bell with only the smallest of leads over Poljanski, Halilaj, Masnada, Turek, Tonelli and Rubio, while the bunch was just 20 seconds behind.

The escapees were reeled in with a shade over 8 kilometres remaining after a particularly long stint of pace-making from Visconti, winner of the Giro dell'Emilia at the weekend. The Sicilian remained in situ at the head of the peloton deep into the final lap and his work helped to whittle the peloton down to its bare bones as it tackled the lower slopes of the final climb towards the finish

It was clear, however, that Visconti's labours were on behalf of his fellow Sicilian Nibali, and his attack, though widely expected, was no less ferocious as a result. Only Pinot could match him on the steepest section of the climb, as both men tested one another in something of a dress rehearsal for Il Lombardia.

They would be upstaged, however, by Geniez, who smartly managed his resources on the final climb, and then held his nerve in the tense finale.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale4:49:08 
2Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ  
3Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
4Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
5Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:07 
6Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
7Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
8Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
9Daniel Martinez (Col) Wilier Triestina0:00:17 
10Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott0:00:18 
11Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
12Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
13Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
14Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
15Yonder Godoy (Ven) Wilier Triestina  
16Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
17Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
18Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
19Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb  
20Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
21Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
22Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
23Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
24Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott  
25Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
26Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:22 
27Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
28Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:25 
29Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac  
30Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb  
31Pierpaolo Ficara (Ita) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp0:00:37 
32Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data  
33Rodolfo Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli0:00:45 
34Matteo Busato (Ita) Wilier Triestina0:01:06 
35Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac  
36Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo0:01:08 
37Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
38Carlos Verona (Spa) Orica-Scott  
39Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
40Pier Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
41Marco Zamparella (Ita) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp0:01:22 
42Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
43Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:01:28 
44Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina  
45Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
46Simone Velasco (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
47Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
48Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data  
49Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates  
50Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
51Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ  
52Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe  
53Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
54Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ  
55Jan Bárta (Cze) Bora-Hansgrohe  
56Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
57Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar Team  
58Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team  
59Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
60Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
61Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb  
62Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe  
63Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky0:01:41 
64Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data  
65Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac  
66Redi Halilaj (Alb) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp  
67Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac  
68Iuri Filosi (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini0:02:26 
69Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Cycling Academy  
70Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
71Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:02:47 
72Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy0:03:51 
73Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
74Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
75Michele Gazzara (Ita) Sangemini - Mg. K Vis0:05:08 
76Miguel Eduardo Florez (Col) Wilier Triestina0:05:16 
77German Nicolas Tivani Perez (Arg) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 19020:06:03 
78Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
79Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
80Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates  
81Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates  
82Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team  
83Cristian Rodriguez (Spa) Wilier Triestina  
84Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Wilier Triestina  
85Jérémy Maison (Fra) FDJ  
86François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
87Ivan Ramiro Sosa (Col) Androni Giocattoli  
88Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
89Pavel Brutt (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
90Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky  
91Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ  
92Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky  
93Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac  
94David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ  
95Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe  
96Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
97Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
98Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-Scott  
99Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
100Rob Power (Aus) Orica-Scott  
101Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott  
102Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team  
103Jose Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team  
104Ruben Plaza (Spa) Orica-Scott  
105Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:07:22 
106Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:07:36 
107Simone Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:08:26 
108Simone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
109Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFLennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFMichael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFLaurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFAntonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFDomen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFFranco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFLuka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFMichal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky  
DNFDiego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky  
DNFSebastian Henao (Col) Team Sky  
DNFLukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky  
DNFWinner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team  
DNFNuno Bico (Por) Movistar Team  
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
DNFLawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale-Drapac  
DNFDavide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac  
DNFKarl Patrick Lauk (Est) Astana Pro Team  
DNFMoreno Moser (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJosé Mendes (Por) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFEugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMatteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFGregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFPeter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFBoy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
DNFSébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ  
DNFIgor Anton (Spa) Dimension Data  
DNFNatnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data  
DNFOmar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data  
DNFAmanuel Ghebreigzabhier Werkilul (Eri) Dimension Data  
DNFLachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNFManuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFFrancesco Lamon (Ita) Italy  
DNFAlessandro Covi (Ita) Italy  
DNFStefano Oldani (Ita) Italy  
DNFLuca Mozzato (Ita) Italy  
DNFLuca Covili (Ita) Italy  
DNFAlessandro Monaco (Ita) Italy  
DNFAndrea Cacciotti (Ita) Italy  
DNFMihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFDan Craven (Nam) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFLuis Lemus (Mex) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFNicolas Sessler (Bra) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFGuy Niv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFPier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFMarino Kobayashi (Jpn) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFGiacomo Berlato (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFManuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina  
DNFIldar Crcasv (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFEvgeny Kobernyak (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFDmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFSergey Lagutin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFArtem Nych (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFIvan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFDylan Pace (Swi) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFGonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFChristopher Butler (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFDanilo Celano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFLuis Mas (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFSergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFDavide Orrico (Ita) Sangemini - Mg. K Vis  
DNFNicola Gaffurini (Ita) Sangemini - Mg. K Vis  
DNFMichele Scartezzini (Ita) Sangemini - Mg. K Vis  
DNFPaolo Totò (Ita) Sangemini - Mg. K Vis  
DNFFederico Canuti (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFEttore Carlini (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFPietro Di Genova (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFFrancesco Petrini (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFAngelo Raffaele (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFAngelo Vitiello (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFUri Martins Sandoval (Mex) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp  
DNFBesmir Banushi (Alb) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp  
DNFMarco Bernardinetti (Ita) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp  
DNFFrancesco Mancini (Ita) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp  
DNFRiccardo Cenghialta (Ita) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 1902  
DNFMarco Molteni (Ita) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 1902  
DNFSimone Ravanelli (Ita) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 1902  
DNFMattia Viel (Ita) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 1902  
DNFDonovan Alonso Davila Cespedes (CRc) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 1902  
DNFJoao Almeida (Por) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 1902  

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