Skujins wins Tre Valli Varesine

Pinot second, Kennaugh third in breakaway sprint

Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) claimed victory at the 2018 Tre Valli Varesine, winning from a group of seven that arrived at the line in Varese.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) opened the sprint but was unable to match Skujins’ finishing speed and had to settle for second place, while Peter Kennaugh (Bora-Hansgrohe), who had launched a solo bid for victory several kilometres previously, took the final spot on the podium.

Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First-Drapac) had attacked from the peloton and caught and breezed past Kennaugh on the final incline, but he was joined for the slightly downhill final few kilometres by Pinot and his own teammate Michael Woods, with Skujins, Kennaugh, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), and Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale), jumping on board, having been part of earlier attacks.

Urán led the way in the final kilometre to keep a chase group containing Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at bay, and while he succeeded in doing so, Woods was unable to make an impact in the sprint as Skujins ripped down the right-hand side of the road before punching the air.

The one-day race, part of a string of autumn Italian Classics and the third and final instalment of the Trittico Lombardo series, centred on two circuits around Varese, with six laps of ‘the short circuit’ - a 12.6km loop over the Montello climb (1.7km at 5.5%) - and two laps of ‘the long circuit’ - a 21.2km loop that took in the Montello and then another climb to Morosolo (1.7km at 7.6%).

Skujins and Frank, were in a trio - along with Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott) - that went clear on the final part of the first of the long laps, and they were joined after the bell by Kennaugh and Kelderman, as well as Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Ivan Santaromita (Nippo Vini Fantini).

Power attacked on the final climb up Morosolo and Kennaugh was the next to chance his arm over the other side but, with the peloton close at hand, Urán ripped across and looked commanding as he passed the escapees and dropped Kennaugh on a subsequent incline. Pinot was the one to respond from the bunch and he made his way across with Woods in tow, as Skujins, Kelderman, Kennaugh, and Frank tagged along.

There was little chasing force in the vastly reduced peloton behind, and the seven riders entered the final few hundred metres with a sufficient advantage, with Skujins collecting his fourth victory of his best season to date with a convincing sprint.

How it unfolded

It was a fast start to proceedings, with 48 kilometres covered in an attacking first hour of racing. It took 35km for a proper breakaway to form, and it contained Matteo Bono (UAE Team Emirates), Michael Storer (Team Sunweb), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Edoardo Zardini (Willier Triestina-Selle Italia) and Paolo Toto (Sangemini - MG Kvis). The escapees opened up a lead of nearly nine minutes on the flat opening section of the route, but the gap steadily decreased on the climb to Castello Cabiaglio (7.2km at 3.5 per cent) and the descent towards Varese.

The breakaway riders crossed the finished line for the first time with a lead of five minutes but that was reduced to three minutes after two laps of the short circuit and to 1:30 after four laps. Just ahead of the final lap, with just over 50km remaining in total, the race ignited as some big names attacked from the peloton and made their way over to the head of the race.

Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Leo Vincent (Groupama-FDJ), Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Andrea Bagioli (UAE Team Emirates), Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) were the first to go, while Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data) and Sebastien Reichenbach) left it a little later but soon made it across. All of the breakaway riders, with the exception of Zardini, fell away, leaving 13 riders at the head of affairs.

Those 13 finished the last of the short laps and crossed the finish line for the start of the two long laps with a lead of 35 seconds, but EF-Drapac set a strong tempo at the head of the bunch and the escapees were reeled in on the Morosolo climb.

That sparked attacks on the slightly downhill final part of the first lap, and Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), and Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott) succeeded in getting away to take the bell in the lead, though they were soon joined by five counter-attackers: Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Ivan Santaromita (Nippo Vini Fantini). Latecomer Peter Kennaugh (Bora-Hansgrohe) then bridged across to make it nine out front with a slim advantage heading into the final 20km.

On the final ascent of Montello the hostilities kicked off behind, with David Gaudu (FDJ) producing an acceleration to which Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) immediately responded, with many of the favourites jumping to force a brief split of around 20. Rigoberto Urán (EF-Drapac) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) both led the reduced bunch down the descent, and the attacks continued on the flatter roads, with Guillaume Boivin (Israel Academy) dangling in front with Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) for a while.

The nine leaders hit the final climb of Morosolo with a lead of around 20 seconds, and Power piled on the pressure. First he created a selection, dropping Santaromita, Buchmann, Visconti, and Tolhoek and kicked again to lead solo over the top of the climb. Power was soon reeled in, and Kennaugh in turn went on a solo attack ahead of a secondary incline.
By this point the peloton was close at hand, and Urán went on the attack.

He quickly made his way over to the dropped breakaway riders before reaching Kennaugh and breezing past the Briton. The response came from Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who closed the gap with Uran’s teammate Michael Woods on the wheel. Skujins, Kennaugh, Frank, and Kelderman also produced second efforts to make what turned out to be the decisive selection.

Valverde was in the group behind, racing in the world champion’s jersey for the first time, and so was Nibali, but they were unable to claw their way back, leaving the leading seven to sprint it out and Skujins to emerge victorious.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo4:55:41 
2Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ  
3Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Bora-Hansgrohe  
4Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
5Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
6Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb  
7Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:04 
8Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:13 
9Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
10Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
11Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec  
12Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe  
13Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
14George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo  
15Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team  
16Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
17Davide Vilella (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
18Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
19Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
20Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
21Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ  
22Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo  
23Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
24Simone Ponzi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:01:02 
25Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy  
26Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
27Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data  
28Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec  
29Simone Velasco (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia  
30Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
31Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data  
32Luca Wackermann (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
33Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
34Jose Manuel Diaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy  
35Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
36Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
37Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida  
38Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott  
39Sebastian Shonberger (Aut) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia  
40Matteo Badilatti (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy  
41Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:04 
42Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
43Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe  
44Rob Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:06 
45Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
46Marco Tizza (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:01:38 
47Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy  
48Pierpaolo Ficara (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir  
49Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:01:40 
50Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:02:43 
51Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:52 
52Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
53Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
54Mirko Trosino (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir  
55Luca Raggio (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia  
56Andrey Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
57Davide Gaburro (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir  
58Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar Team  
59David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ  
60Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
61Daan Olivier (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
62Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
63Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
64Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
65Awet Andemeskel (Eri) Israel Cycling Academy  
66Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates  
67Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:04:10 
68Michele Gazzara (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega0:04:26 
69Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec  
70Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
71Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott0:05:42 
72Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896  
73Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
74Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
75Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo0:06:23 
76Koen Bouwmam (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
77Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:06:48 
78Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:07:34 
79Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:03 
80Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
81Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
82Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team  
83Ivan Martinelli (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord0:08:06 
84Mattia Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:10:18 
85Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates  
86Antonio Di Sante (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega  
87Andrea Garosio (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
88Dario Puccioni (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega  
89Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
90Andrea Bagioli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
91Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFHector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFCarlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team  
DNFWinner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team  
DNFJosé Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFNans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFAntonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFKristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFMichael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFMiguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team  
DNFNikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFTanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team  
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
DNFJérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ  
DNFLéo Vincent (Fra) FDJ  
DNFPawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFBen Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFEugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFGregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMichael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMichael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFChristopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFLennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb  
DNFMichael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFJai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFVictor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFLuis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFSimon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFHugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFJoe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFJosé Fernandes Neves (Por) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFCyrus Monk (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFStephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data  
DNFBen O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNFMatteo Sobrero (Ita) Dimension Data  
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFDanilo Celano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFAlvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFJustin Oien (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFLuis Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFCristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFRuben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFGuy Niv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFGiovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFAlessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFRoman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
DNFEvgeny Kobernyak (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
DNFEvgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
DNFVladislav Kulikov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
DNFAlexandr Kulikovskiy (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec  
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec  
DNFAndrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec  
DNFSho Hatsuyama (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
DNFJoan Bou Company (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
DNFMiguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia  
DNFNicholas Rinaldi (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia  
DNFIlia Koshevoy (Blr) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia  
DNFZahiri Abderrahim (Mar) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896  
DNFFabio Mazzucco (Ita) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896  
DNFManuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896  
DNFGerman Nicolas Tivani Perez (Arg) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896  
DNFFilippo Zana (Ita) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896  
DNFColin Chris Stüssi (Swi) Amore & Vita-Prodir  
DNFMarco Bernardinetti (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir  
DNFAntonio Zullo (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir  
DNFMichele Corradini (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir  
DNFNicola Gaffurini (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega  
DNFPaolo Totò (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega  
DNFFrancesco Bettini (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFEttore Carlini (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNFEmanuele Onesti (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord  
DNSLuca Colnaghi (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega  

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