Giovanni Lonardi wins Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana

Giovanni Lonardi (Eolo-Kometa) wins the 2022 Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana wins the
(Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)

Giovanni Lonardi (Eolo-Kometa) won the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969, the first race of the new European road season. The Italian unleashed a powerful sprint to beat Amaury Capiot (Arkéa-Samsic) into second place in a bunch finish in Valencia, while Chris Lawless (Team TotalEnergies) took third.

It was Lonardi’s first outing in the colours of Eolo-Kometa since he joined from Bardiani-CSF this winter and his tenure began in the brightest possible fashion on a grey and drizzly afternoon on the Costa Blanca, where winter has not yet given way to spring.

As was the case a year ago, the route lent itself to a bunch sprint, with the hilly opening followed by a flat and fast run-in to the finish in Valencia. So it proved, though the rapid finale was marred by a brace of crashes in the peloton, including one in the finishing straight that ended the challenge of pre-race favourite Niccolò Bonifazio (Team TotalEnergies).

That tumble left Bonifazio’s teammate Lawless little choice but to try his own luck in the sprint with an effort from distance and the Briton’s fine turn of speed saw him hit the front inside the final 200 metres.

Lonardi had been expertly piloted by Eolo-Kometa in the closing stages, however, and he dived for Lawless’ wheel before coming past within sight of the line. Capiot battled to get back on terms, but he had to settle for second place as Lonardi claimed a decisive victory, the fourth of his professional career, to the delight of manager Alberto Contador, who immortalised the moment with a selfie beyond the finish line.

The 175km race was animated by an nine-man break that forged clear shortly after the start in La Nucia as the route brought the peloton towards the Coll de Rates, scene of one of Tadej Pogačar’s pre-season feats of strength.

The ascent is all too familiar to the many riders who have made the Costa Blanca their winter training base, and it was a neo-professional, the impressive Sandy Dujardin (TotalEnergies) who was first to the top here.

Dujardin was joined in the early move by Alan Jousseaume (TotalEnergies), Xabier Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alessandro Verre (Team Arkéa-Samsic), Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF Faizanè), Eugenio Sanchez (Equipo Kern Pharma), Roger Adriá (Equipo Kern Pharma), Daniel Hoyos (Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas) and Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team), but although they combined smoothly, their advantage over the peloton was never permitted to extend beyond two minutes.

Burgos-BH and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA had missed the move, and they performed the bulk of the pace-making behind as rain fell gently over the hinterland of Valencia for the early part of the afternoon.

The terrain and the weather became more amenable as the day progressed, while the racing grew more intense. The escapees still held a lead of 1:30 over the bunch as they enter the final 50km, but the unity of the move was beginning to fragment.

Inside the final 40km, Dujardin, Verre and Adriá clipped away from the rest of the break, and this trio put up spirited resistance as the chase grew more urgent behind. They still had almost a minute in hand as they approach the final 20km, but a sharp acceleration in the bunch put paid to their rally, and they were clawed back with a little under 10km remaining.

A bunch finish was inevitable by that point on, particularly now that TotalEnergies could hit the front to discourage any late attacks. Although the early rain had abated by the time the peloton hit the streets of Valencia, early-season nervousness was still on show, as exhibited by the pair of crashes in the finale. The first came with 4km remaining and the second, inside the last kilometre, put paid to Bonifazio’s chances, but there was no argument about Lonardi’s sprint.

Arkéa-Samsic had been prominent on behalf of Capiot on the approach to the flamme rouge, but a delegation from Eolo-Kometa took up the reins inside the final kilometre, piloting Lonardi into position. Lonardi avoided the crash within sight of the line and then produced a well-time effort to score victory ahead of Capiot and Lawless.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 4:02:34
2Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
3Christopher Lawless (GBr) TotalEnergies
4Alex Jaime Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:02
5Antonio Jesús Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
6Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH
7Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
8Juan Diego Hoyos Cano (Col) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
9Francisco Galvan Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
10Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
11Alex Molenaar (Ned) Burgos-BH 0:00:06
12Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
13David Gonzalez Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
14Xavier Canellas (Spa) Java Kiwi Atlántico
15Davide Bais (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
16Oscar Pelegri Ferrandis (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:00:10
17Miguel Ángel Ballesteros (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
18Matthew Teggart (Irl) WIV Sungod 0:00:12
19Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
20Julen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
21Pelayo Sanchez (Spa) Burgos-BH
22Diego Rubio Hernandez (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:00:16
23Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:17
24Sandy Dujardin (Fra) TotalEnergies
25Clément Russo (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
26Alan Riou (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
27Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
28Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:20
29Mateu Esterlrich (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas 0:00:27
30Markus Pajur (Est) Arkea-Samsic
31Mirco Maestri (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
32Isaac Canton Serrano (Spa) Manuela Fundacion 0:00:31
33Fabio Mazzucco (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
34Pablo Alonso Montes (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
35Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
36Ibai Azurmendi Sagastibeltza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
37Theodor Obholzer (GBr) Saint Piran
38Diego Pablo Sevilla Lopez (Spa) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:00:35
39Harrison Bailey (Aus) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas 0:00:46
40Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:56
41Daniel Jimenez (Spa) Manuela Fundación Continental 0:01:01
42Josh Whitehead (GBr) WIV Sungod 0:01:05
43Eugenio Sanchez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
44Sergio Garcia (Spa) EOLO-Kometa
45Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
46Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
47Erik Martorell (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
48Joan Bou Company (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:01:08
49Pau Miquel (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
50Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane 0:01:16
51Paul Ourselin (Fra) TotalEnergies
52Héctor Carretero (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:01:22
53Sergio Roman Martin Galan (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
54Derek Gee (Can) Israel Cycling Academy 0:01:29
55Aritz Bagües Kalparsoro (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:01:31
56Fabien Grellier (Fra) TotalEnergies
57Manuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:01:35
58Eduardo Perez-Landaluce (Spa) Manuela Fundación Continental 0:01:44
59Gaizka Gurrutxaga (Spa) Java Kiwi Atlántico
60Jake Crossley (GBr) Saint Piran 0:01:53
61Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH
62Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH
63Jon Barrenetxea Golzarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
64Barry Miller (USA) Java Kiwi Atlántico
65Thomas Armstrong (GBr) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
66Márton Dina (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
67Roi Weinberg (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy 0:01:56
68Nadav Raisberg (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy
69Edo Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy
70Alan Jousseaume (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:02:04
71Alessandro Verre (Ita) Arkea-Samsic
72Vojtech Repa (Cze) Equipo Kern Pharma
73Jakub Boucek (Cze) Israel Cycling Academy
74Xabier Mikel Azparren Irurzun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
75Daniel Viegas (Por) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:02:50
76Yuki Ishihara (Jpn) Java Kiwi Atlántico 0:02:51
77Riley Pickrell (Can) Israel Cycling Academy 0:02:59
78Joel Nicolau Beltran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:03:02
79Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
80Orluis Alberto Aular Sanabria (Ven) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:03:18
81Donavan Grondin (Fra) Arkea-Samsic 0:03:52
82Marcos Jurado (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
83Iúri Leitão (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
84Rory Townsend (Irl) WIV Sungod
85Damien Clayton (GBr) WIV Sungod
86Jacob Scott (GBr) WIV Sungod 0:04:06
87Gruffudd Lewis (GBr) WIV Sungod 0:04:11
88Jenson Young (GBr) Saint Piran 0:04:48
89Charles Page (GBr) Saint Piran
90Edwin Torres (Ven) Java Kiwi Atlántico 0:05:13
91Raul Garcia Pierna (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:05:31
92Robert Scott (GBr) WIV Sungod 0:06:26
93Matthew Bostock (GBr) WIV Sungod 0:07:39
94Manuele Tarozzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane 0:08:13
DNFIlkhan Dostiyev (Kaz) Vino SKO Team
DNFVladimir Mulagaleyev (Kaz) Vino SKO Team
DNFIgor Romanov (Kaz) Vino SKO Team
DNFYegor Strelnikov (Kaz) Vino SKO Team
DNFRaúl Rota (Spa) Manuela Fundación Continental
DNFSantiago Mesa (Col) Manuela Fundación Continental
DNFAviv Peretz (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFWilliam Bjergfelt (GBr) Saint Piran
DNFLeon Mazzone (GBr) Saint Piran
DNFNiccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies
DNFJosu Etxeberria Azpilikueta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFNikiforos Arvanitou (Grc) Java Kiwi Atlántico
DNFAlessio Gasparini (Ita) Java Kiwi Atlántico
DNFBauyrzhan Zhaparuly (Kaz) Vino SKO Team
DNFVladimir Koltunov (Kaz) Vino SKO Team
DNFRuslan Aliyev (Kaz) Vino SKO Team
DNFFrancisco Casaus (Spa) Manuela Fundación Continental
DNFVicente Hernaiz (Spa) Manuela Fundación Continental
DNFYuval Ben Moshe (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFGabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Saint Piran
DNFTom Mazzone (GBr) Saint Piran
DNFAntonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFDaniel Hoyos Largo (Col) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
DNFTomoya Koyama (Jpn) Java Kiwi Atlántico
DNFAlexandr Semenov (Kaz) Vino SKO Team

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