After his narrow loss at the European road championships, Elia Viviani took revenge in Hamburg as he claimed the biggest one-day win of his career at the Cyclassics Hamburg. The Team Sky rider suffered a puncture with 50km to race in the German city but with his teammates fully committed to his cause, Viviani remained calm and then finished off the day with the win.
Viviani, 28, lead out the sprint with 200 metres to race and held off the fast-finishing French champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo). Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), the man who beat Viviani to the European title earlier in the month, was fourth in the sprint.
While Viviani didn't race the Cyclassics Hamburg in 2016, he explained Sky was committed to learning from previous mistakes in 2017 and pulled off the plan to perfection.
"When I had a puncture I had three guys around me to bring me back to the group and Owain and Danny did an amazing job in the last 5km," Viviani said. "This morning we studied what had gone wrong for us in this race and we were able to improve with this win.
"We decided that the left corner with 2.7km to go was crucial and we went through it with me and Danny in second and third which was ideal. I am proud of this win, but this win is for the team."
With the memories still fresh from Denmark, where he lost to Kristoff, Viviani added he was keen to start his sprint as early as possible and was relieved to hold on for the victory.
"To come second by two centimetres was not what I was hoping for, but I was able to spend a good week training and come here in great shape. When I saw the track guys begin their sprint with 200m to go I thought that I didn’t want to lose like I did in the European Championships because I waited," he said.
"I started my sprint earlier and led from the front and went full power to the line. I was happy that the long sprint came after 200km of racing too as it shows that all the work we did earlier in the season to get me ready for Classics really paid off."
For Viviani, the win was his fifth of the season, his last in Team Sky colours, and first one-day win since the 2014 GP Banca di Legnano - Coppa Bernocchi. After a lean start to the 2017 season in which he notched numerous top-ten results, Viviani has enjoyed a strong second-half of the year with a win at Route du Sud, and two stages of the Tour of Austria.
The Olympic omnium champion is a provisional starter at the Tour du Poitou Charentes from Tuesday where he will aim to add to continue his late-season flurry before he heads off to QuickStep-Floors.