Sonny Colbrelli is hoping to continue Bahrain Victorious’ recent run of success at the Italian Road National Championships and then the Tour de France, with the sprinter eyeing the opening stage in Brittany and the first yellow jersey, before targeting the green points jersey.
Bahrain Victorious had only won three races up to the end of April but then took two stages at the Giro d’Italia and Damiano Caruso finished second overall behind Egan Bernal.
Colbrelli impressed at the Critérium du Dauphiné, winnning a stage and taking three second places as teammate Mark Padun took surprise back-to-back stage wins in the mountains.
Elsewhere, Phil Bauhaus won two stages at the Tour of Slovenia and Gino Mäder won the final mountain stage of the Tour de Suisse, beating Michael Woods in a two-up sprint.
Colbrelli won the green jersey at the Dauphiné after winning stage 3 and consistently contending for the sprint and hilly stages. He is often considered Italy’s nearly-man sprinter and before his win at the Dauphiné, he had racked up 35 second placings in sprints and a series of disappointments in the Classics.
Yet Colbrelli feels he is finally in the best form his career and best ever racing weight after a block of altitude training before the Dauphiné.
He returned to Livigno with his family immediately after the Dauphine and will ride Sunday’s Italian Championships in Imola before travelling to Brest on Wednesday for the start of the Tour de France.
“It’s all aimed at being at my best for the Tour de France,” Colbrelli explained to Tuttobiciweb as he returned home briefly from altitude.
“I’ll be trying to win stages in the first week and chase the green points jersey, even if I’m aware it won’t be easy. I know the first stage from Brest has an uphill finish and so can be a good chance to win and take the yellow jersey.”
Colbrelli is fast in a sprint but like Peter Sagan he also has the ability to handle rolling roads and uphill finishes. His victory at Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux in the Dauphiné came after a 2.3km gradual climb to the finish.
“I got a win but I could have done better because the placing could have easly been victories,” he said of the Dauphiné.
“But I was satisfied because my riding and winning the green jersey at the Dauphiné has boosted my moral for the Tour. After the Dauphiné I went straight to Livigno with my teammate Dylan Teuns and I was joined by my family, so I could also spend time with them.
Next up is the Italian Championships on a similar rolling course to last year’s World Championships. The 225km race includes 3100m of climbing with the finish in the centre of Imola rather on the motor racing circuit.
“After a block of altitude there’s always a phase of adjustment, so I don’t know how I’ll feel. The heat could also be a problem but I want to be optimistic because winning the tricolore jersey and wearing it for a year would be really special,” Colbrelli said.
After the Tour de France, Colbrelli will chase selection for the World Championships in Belgium in September.
“I hope to be selected because if I’m on form I think I can be a contender in Leuven,” he said. “I’ve raced La Flèche Brabançonne that covers parts of the worlds course. Italy will have the likes of Alberto Bettiol and Matteo Trentin, so we’ll have a strong team, and I’d love to be part of it.”
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