Aleksandr Vlasov wins Giro dell'Emilia

Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Pro Team) continued his sparkling run of form with a victory in the Giro dell’Emilia launching a searing attack on the final haul up the climb of San Luca above Bologna.

The Russian punched his way clear of an elite group of contenders with 1.5km of the portico-lined ascent remaining and he proceeded to catch and pass lone escapee João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) with 600m to go.

Vlasov never relented, and he pressed on to win by 9 seconds from Almeida, while Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) beat Eddie Dunbar (Team Ineos) to third place, a further 9 seconds back. Andrea Bagioli, who had helped to tee up his teammate Almeida’s earlier attack, took fifth ahead of Il Lombardia winner Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo).

As ever, the succession of laps over the stiff ascent to the Sanctuario di San Luca had whittled the peloton down to its bare bones, and with 20km remaining only the remnants of the day’s early break and the select cade of pre-race favourites remained in contention.

Almeida launched what long looked like a racing-winning attack at the beginning of the penultimate lap when he slipped away from the Nibali-Fuglsang group shortly after his teammate Bagioli’s earlier effort had been reeled in.

The Portuguese youngster has impressed everywhere he has raced in 2020, and he looked a likely winner when he blasted past the last two survivors of the early break – the Vini Zabu-KTM duo of Giovanni Visconti and Andrea Garosio – on the penultimate ascent of the San Luca.

As Almeida took the bell at the summit, he had a lead of 35 seconds over the chasers with just 9km to race, and he managed that advantage well on the final lap of the finishing circuit. By the time he passed through the Arco del Meloncello for the last time with 2km remaining, he still had half a minute in hand on an eight-man chasing group.

Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) looked to chip away at Almeida’s gap on the lower slopes but neither his forcing nor a fleeting acceleration from his leader Nibali made greats inroads into the deficit.

With 1400m remaining, however, Vlasov unleashed his effort, and only Bagioli could initially follow the Russian. Bagioli had to relent as the gradient stiffened further at the Curva delle Orfanelle, while out in front, Almeida’s fatigue was increasingly obvious.

Vlasov was within touching distance of the Portuguese youngster beneath the flamme rouge, and he inched past him with a shade over 600 metres remaining. From there, the result was never in doubt.

Like Evgeni Berzin and Viatcheslav Ekimov, Vlasov is a native of Vyborg near the Finnish border, and he signalled his ability by winning the under-23 Giro d’Italia in 2018 before moving from Gazprom-Rusvelo to the WorldTour at the start of this season.

This was Vlasov’s third victory of 2020 and his second this month after his triumph in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge. On Saturday, he played a key role in helping his teammate Fuglsang to victory at Il Lombardia, where he also had the wherewithal to claim the third step of the podium for himself.

Vlasov lost his Russian title in the intervening period, incidentally, as the national championships were held in his absence over the weekend, but on this remarkable evidence, the 24-year-old will expect to add more lines to his palmarès before the year is out.

How it unfolded

Normally fought out beneath falling leaves and fading October sunlight, the Giro dell’Emilia shifted to an August date on the revised UCI calendar. The event saw many of the protagonists of Saturday’s Il Lombardia line up for the last in the current sequence of one-day races on Italian roads.

In keeping with the tenor of events from Strade Bianche onwards, there was an aggressive start to affairs after the peloton left Casalecchio di Reno, with Fuglsang among those active on the day’s first ascent of Montemaggiore.

The race eventually settled into a pattern after the ascent of Mongardino, and after 50km, a group of eight riders forged clear: Danilo Wyss (NTT Pro Cycling), Giovanni Visconti and Andrea Garosio (Vini Zabu-KTM), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix), Manuel Senni (Bardiani-CSF Faizanè), Felix Dopchie (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), Oscar Quiroz (Colombia Tierra de Atletas) and Dario Puccioni (Work Service Dinatek Vega).

The group combined well to establish a maximum lead of seven minutes and they still had 4:30 in hand by the team they hit the San Luca for the first time with 40km remaining. The break splintered under Visconti’s force on the lower slopes before his teammate Garosio forged clear over the summit. The two Vini Zabu-KTM riders would link up again at the front one lap later, when Visconti bridged across on the San Luca, later to be joined by Walsleben.

Behind, meanwhile, the aggression of Eddie Dunbar (Team Ineos) was helping to whittle the peloton down to a very select group of favourites, with Vlasov, Fuglsang, Harald Tejada (Astana), Nibali, Ciccone, Almeida, Bagioli and Ulissi joining the Irishman in pursuit of the escapees with three laps remaining.

With two laps to go, Visconti and Garosio rid themselves of Walsleben, but their lead over the chasers was down to less than a minute. Bagioli’s attack on the San Luca reduced the gap still further and brought the chasers ever closer. When he was pinned back with 16km remaining, Almeida seized the initiative, catching and passing the Vini Zabu tandem on the penultimate ascent of the San Luca.

It looked like the winning move, but the final haul up the San Luca gave the on-form Vlasov a chance to claw his way back into contention.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team 4:59:41
2João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quick-Step 0:00:09
3Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:18
4Edward Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos 0:00:21
5Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-Quick-Step 0:00:24
6Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:29
7Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:46
8Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:32
9Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:02:41
10Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
11Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix 0:02:57
12Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:19
13Andrea Garosio (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:03:21
14Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:25
15Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:33
16Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Team Ineos
17Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
18Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:03:41
19Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
20Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
21Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
22Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
23Riccardo Lucca (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
24Marco Tizza (Ita) Italy 0:03:54
25Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:03:55
26Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling 0:03:57
27Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:03
28Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:04:11
29Andrea Piccolo (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan 0:04:13
30Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:04:26
31Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:04:30
32Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:04:31
33Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:04:36
34Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Pro Team
35Oscar Adalberto Quiroz Ayala (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Bicicletas 0:05:04
36Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan 0:05:16
37Davide Gabburo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:05:24
38Samuele Battistella (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:05:58
39Ivan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo 0:06:01
40Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:06:18
41Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
42Joe Dombrowski (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:07:17
43Brandon Smith Rivera Vargas (Col) Team Ineos 0:07:29
44Scott Davies (GBr) Bahrain McLaren 0:07:52
45Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
46Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:08:35
47Laurens Huys (Bel) Bingoal WB 0:09:18
48Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quick-Step 0:09:30
49Gabriele Benedetti (Ita) Italy
50Darwin Atapuma (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Bicicletas
51Stefan De Bod (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling 0:09:40
52Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan 0:09:46
53Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo 0:10:33
54Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:10:59
55Marco Frigo (Ita) Italy 0:11:08
56Brayan Hernandez Gomez (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Bicicletas 0:11:50
57Antonio Di Sante (Ita) Sangemini Trevigiani MG.k Vis
58Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB 0:12:23
59Antonio Santoro (Ita) Work Service-Dinatek-Vega 0:13:35
60Ivan Martinelli (Ita) D'Amico um Tools
61Francesco Zandri (Ita) Work Service-Dinatek-Vega
62Umberto Orsini (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
63Martin Marcellusi (Ita) Italy 0:13:54
64Maël Guegan (Fra) Rally Cycling 0:14:12
65Dario Puccioni (Ita) Work Service-Dinatek-Vega 0:14:42
66Benjamin Dyball (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling 0:14:54
67Johnatan Cañaveral Vargas (Col) Giotti Victoria
68Félix Dopchie (Bel) Bingoal WB 0:14:58
DNFJacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAntonio Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFOscar Gatto (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFEros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
DNFDomen Novak (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
DNFLuka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
DNFFred Wright (GBr) Bahrain McLaren
DNFTao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos
DNFGianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos
DNFRodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana Pro Team
DNFJonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
DNFIan Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
DNFAleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
DNFAlessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFValerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFDanilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFBenjamin King (USA) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFLuca Colnaghi (Ita) Italy
DNFSamuele Rivi (Ita) Italy
DNFManuele Rivi (Ita) Italy
DNFAlexander Evans (Aus) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFOdd Christian Eiking (Nor) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFSimone Petilli (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFAlessandro Monaco (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFFrancesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFMatteo Busato (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
DNFJames Mitri (NZl) Vini Zabu' KTM
DNFDaniel Muñoz Giraldo (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFSimon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFMarco Canola (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFAleksei Rybalkin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFNikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFPetr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFNathan Brown (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFMatteo Dal-Cin (Can) Rally Cycling
DNFGavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFNickolas Zukowsky (Can) Rally Cycling
DNFLuc Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal WB
DNFKenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFQuentin Venner (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFHernan Ricardo Aguirre Caipa (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Bicicletas
DNFOmar Alberto Mendoza Cardona (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Bicicletas
DNFWilliam David Muñoz Perez (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Bicicletas
DNFViktor Filutás (Hun) Giotti Victoria
DNFMatteo Gaido (Ita) Giotti Victoria
DNFEmanuele Onesti (Ita) Giotti Victoria
DNFFederico Zurlo (Ita) Giotti Victoria
DNFEmanuele Amadio (Ita) D'Amico um Tools
DNFValter Ghigino (Ita) D'Amico um Tools
DNFNicolas Nesi (Ita) D'Amico um Tools
DNFLuca Raggio (Ita) D'Amico um Tools
DNFNicholas Rinaldi (Ita) D'Amico um Tools
DNFFilippo Baroncini (Ita) Beltrami TSA Marchiol
DNFGregorio Ferri (Ita) Beltrami TSA Marchiol
DNFMarco Grendene (Ita) Beltrami TSA Marchiol
DNFMassimo Orlandi (Ita) Beltrami TSA Marchiol
DNFThomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami TSA Marchiol
DNFGiosue' Crescioli (Ita) Beltrami TSA Marchiol
DNFFrancesco Di Felice (Ita) Sangemini Trevigiani MG.k Vis
DNFDavide Leone (Ita) Sangemini Trevigiani MG.k Vis
DNFRaffaele Radice (Ita) Sangemini Trevigiani MG.k Vis
DNFNiccolo' Salvietti (Ita) Sangemini Trevigiani MG.k Vis
DNFArtur Sowinski (Pol) Sangemini Trevigiani MG.k Vis
DNFRaul Colombo (Ita) Work Service-Dinatek-Vega
DNFPaolo Totò (Ita) Work Service-Dinatek-Vega
DNFAdrian Enrique Vargas Pinto (Col) Work Service-Dinatek-Vega
DNFZahiri Abderrahim (Mar) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFSander Andersen (Den) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFDavide Casarotto (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFDaniel Smarzaro (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFFlavio Tasca (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFDavide Baldaccini (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFAldo Caiati (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFTommaso Rigatti (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNSRichard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.