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Gran Piemonte – or the Giro del Piemonte, as it used to be called – was a moveable feast for much of its early history before settling more definitively on an Autumn date in the 1970s. By the 1980s, it had moved to its familiar, pre-Tour of Lombardy slot as part of the Trittico d’Autunno with Milano-Torino.

This year’s race moves to August on the revised UCI calendar, but it retains its proximity to Il Lombardia, which is scheduled for Saturday.

The route of Gran Piemonte has changed constantly over the years. Last year’s event, won by Egan Bernal, featured a summit finish at Oropa. This year’s race, meanwhile, is a hilly 187km trek through the rolling hills of the Langhe from Santo Stefano Belbo to Barolo.

The gruppo is rolling through the neutralised zone in Santo Stefano Belbo. They are due to reach kilometre zero at 13.55 local time. 

Santo Stefano Belbo is the birthplace of writer Cesare Pavese and the (unnamed) setting of his 1949 masterpiece The Moon and the Bonfires. The town is, like so many in this corner of the world, a wine-producing centre.

-182km

There is a brisk pace in the opening kilometres, but as yet no break has formed. This hilly edition of Gran Piemonte is a perfect warm-up for the midsummer Il Lombardia and, in this precarious season, is a worthy prize in its own right. The contenders in the gruppo today include Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Aleksander Vlasov, Alex Aranburu (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team), Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation), Ivan Sosa, Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Fabio Aru, Valerio Conti, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and, of course, Vincenzo Nibali, who was a late addition to a Trek-Segafredo team that includes Giulio Ciccone and Gianluca Brambilla.

 

Van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix squad are patrolling the bunch at the start of this race, and they snuff out a putative move from Petr Rikunov (Gazprom-Rusvelo).

Today's parcours is as demanding as it is beautiful. The Langhe produces some of the world's finest wines and the hills of this region lend themselves readily to a race for puncheurs. The route ripples across the hillscape for the afternoon on roads that will be familiar from the Barolo time trial on the 2014 Giro d'Italia. The race reaches Barolo for the first time with 88km to go, and tackles two laps of a 44km circuit that includes punchy climbs to Monforte d'Alba and La Morra as well as the drag to the finish in Barolo.

-175km

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Callum Scotson (Mitchelon-Scott) have attacked and established a small gap over the peloton.

Scotson and Honoré stretch their lead out to 20 seconds, but the peloton doesn't seem keen to allow this duo much leeway. CCC and Gazprom-Rusvelo are both prominent in pursuit.

Honoré's teammate Remco Evenepoel is an absentee this afternoon but the Belgische wonderkind is in Italy ahead of his Monument debut at Il Lombardia on Saturday. The 20-year-old has a 1.000 batting average in stage races thus far in 2020, going 4-0 in the Vuelta a San Juan, Volta ao Algarve, Vuelta a Burgos and Tour de Pologne. On the final day in Poland, Sporza put it to Evenepoel that he was a favourite for Il Lombardia. “Probably," Evenepoel said. "I feel good and I still have a week to recuperate and explore the course." We have all been warned. Read more here.

Deceuninck-QuickStep's Remco Evenepoel races to victory on stage 3 of the 2020 Vuelta a Burgos to take the overall lead

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

-164km

Honoré and Scotson come through Nizza Monferrato with a lead of 25 seconds on two chasers, Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) and Philipp Walsleben (Alepcin-Fenix). The peloton is at 43 seconds. 

The race has finally settled into something of a pattern. Rosskopf and Walsleben have bridged across to Scotson and Honoré to make a quartet in front, while the intensity has relented considerably in the peloton.

Situation

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 2:20

There is the minor matter of a bike race taking place in France this afternoon, too. Daniel Benson has live updates from stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné here.

-157km

The pace slackens still further in the peloton and Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) stretch out their lead accordingly. 4:50 the gap.

It's been a busy week of transfer news and there was more this morning when Israel Start-Up Nation announced the arrival of Michael Woods from EF Pro Cycling in 2021. The Canadian made a swift recovery from breaking his femur at Paris-Nice in March and returned to action at Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo in recent weeks. (He also won a stage of the Virtual Tour de France before the real action resumed). Woods sits out Gran Piemonte today but he will hope to be in the mix in the finale of Il Lombardia on Saturday. Read more here.

EF Education First's Michael Woods on the attack on the gravel section on stage 2 of the 2019 Herald Sun Tour

(Image credit: Con Chronis)

-147km

After 40km of racing, Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) have a buffer of 5 minutes on the peloton.

Astana are taking a controlling interest at the head of the peloton, no doubt with man of the moment Aleksandr Vlasov in mind. The Russian impressed in winning the Dénivelé Challenge last week, having been the last man to stay with Egan Bernal and Pavel Sivakov on the Col de Beyrede at the Route d'Occitanie three days earlier. A native of Vyborg near the Finnish border, like Evgeni Berzin and Viatcheslav Ekimov, Vlasov won the under-23 Giro in 2018 ahead of Joao Almeida and Robert Stannard. He joined Astana this season after two years at Gazprom-Rusvelo, and already shone in February with a stage win at the Tour de La Provence. The 24-year-old is an obvious contender this afternoon, but also at Il Lombardia and next week's Giro dell'Emilia, which finishes atop the climb to San Luca above Bologna.

Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) won stage 2 of the Tour de La Provence

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

-130km

The escapees are approaching Neive, in the very heart of the Langhe, and their lead over the peloton stands at 5:45. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) covered 43.4km in the first hour of racing, despite the rolling terrain and temperatures in excess of 30°C.

-124km

The break approaches Barbaresco, riding through some of the most prestigious vineyards on the face of the earth. Their lead over the bunch is just shy of 6 minutes. 

It will be fascinating to see what Mathieu van der Poel can achieve this afternoon after two subdued displays at Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo. He hasn't looked close to his startling 2019 vintage so far in this rearranged season and, human nature being what it is, he will surely be smarting after watching his long-term cyclo-cross rival Wout van Aert carrying off the spoils over the past two weekends. "I haven't yet looked at course extensively, I hope to play a role at the front," Van der Poel said earlier this week. He will also line out at Il Lombardia on Saturday as something of an outsider: the Dutchman's main hope of winning a Monument in 2020 will surely come in October - assuming the season is still ongoing - with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

SANREMO ITALY AUGUST 08 Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Canyon Bike during the 111st Milano Sanremo 2020 a 305km race from Milano to Sanremo MilanoSanremo MilanoSanremo on August 08 2020 in Sanremo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Vincenzo Nibali was a late addition to the Trek-Segafredo squad today as a replacement for his brother Antonio. The World Championships and Giro d'Italia are the centrepieces of Nibali's 2020 season, though we expect news today regarding the possible cancellation of the Aigle-Martigny Worlds, perhaps before Gran Piemonte finishes. Nibali will be a favourite at Il Lombardia this weekend, when he seeks a third win, which would put him level with Henri Pélissier, Costante Girardengo, Gaetano Belloni, Gino Bartali, Seán Kelly and Damiano Cunego on the roll of honour.

Trek-Segafredo’s Vincenzo Nibali at the 2020 Volta ao Algarve

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Nibali and Trek-Segafredo were prominent at Milan-San Remo - as they had been at the Gran Trittico Lombardo - but after finishing 23rd, the Sicilian conceded that he didn't have enough racing miles in his legs to make an impact on the Poggio. He will hope that Gran Piemonte can help to sharpen his steel ahead of Il Lombardia. "My only regret is not having raced more because that would have helped me reacted better," Nibali said on Saturday. "It was difficult to do any better in just my fourth race, considering my characteristics." Stephen Farrand has the full story here.

-121km

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 5:25

The race is approaching Alba, the ‘capital’ of the Langhe, famed for truffles and towers, as well as Ferrero and Beppe Fenoglio. The town was immortalised in Fenoglio’s novels and stories about the partisan life in the Langhe during World War II, perhaps most notably in the short story ‘The Twenty-Tree Days of the City of Alba,’ which recounts the short-lived Repubblica Partigiana di Alba, when partisans briefly expelled the town’s fascist garrison. “Alba was conquered by two thousand people on October 10 and two hundred lost it on the November 2 of the year 1944,” reads the famous opening line.

-114km

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) reach Alba with a buffer of 5:30 on the peloton. After leaving the city, they climb towards the hilltop town of Diano d'Alba.

While the bulk of Jumbo-Visma's A-team are in France for the Dauphiné, George Bennett has travelled to Italy this week to ride Gran Piemonte and Il Lombardia. The New Zealander was an outstanding performer at the Tour de l'Ain and will be a very deluxe domestique at the Tour de France, but he has been handed the opportunity to chase some personal success in Italy this week. His best finish at Il Lombardia was 10th in 2018, but his sparkling form in France last week suggests that he will be a real dangerman both today and on Saturday.

George Bennett

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Gran Piemonte 2020 - 104th Edition - Santo Stefano Belbo - Barolo 187 km - 12/08/2020 - Scenery - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2020

(Image credit: Bettini Images)

-100km

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 5:45

Breaking: the Aigle-Martigny World Championships have been cancelled as the Swiss Federal Council extended its ban on public gatherings of more than 1,000 people until October 1. UCI president David Lappartient previously stated that there was 'no plan B' though La Gazzetta dello Sport this morning floated the prospect of the elite men's and women's road races being held in Italy, either in Emilia-Romagna or the Veneto on September 26-27. We expect a statement from the UCI later today, but the organising committee in Switzerland has confirmed that Aigle-Martigny will not host the 2020 Worlds. Read more here.

2020 UCI Road World Championships organisers Alexandre Debons and Grégory Devaud with UCI president David Lappartient – and event mascot Barry the St. Bernard – at the unveiling of the championships' routes

(Image credit: UCI)

-89km

The break approaches Barolo for the first time with a lead of 6:15 over the bunch. Two laps of a hilly 44km circuit remain.

In France, a Belgian rider on a Dutch team has just won the opening stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. You can probably guess who. A report, results and pictures will follow here.

This 44km finishing circuit features the long and steady rise towards Monforte d’Alba, the shorter ascent to La Morra and then the kick up to the finish in Barolo, where the gradient hits 9%.

On the first passage through the finish line in Barolo, the four escapees had a lead of 5:40 over the peloton.

The UCI has said that it is searching for an alternative venue for the World Championships in Europe and added that it will make a final decision on the location by September 1.

"Given the sporting importance of the UCI Road World Championships for cycling, the UCI would like to clarify that it will work towards finding an alternative project to ensure the 2020 edition of the event can take place, with the priority being in Europe and at the dates initially scheduled," read the statement. "It could include all or some of the planned races. The UCI will look for a host city that would be able to provide a route as challenging as that in Aigle-Martigny and which would therefore suit the same type of riders who had initially planned to participate in Switzerland."

-85km

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 6:10

Astana and Jumbo-Visma have begun to make their presence felt at the head of the peloton. The intensity ratchets up a notch or two and the break's lead drops accordingly. 5:10 the gap.

-75km

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 5:05

The intensity continues to rise in the peloton and more seconds flake away from the break's advantage, which now stands at 4:43.

Jumbo-Visma are prominent on behalf of George Bennett, who had this to say at the start in Santo Stefano Belbo: “I have the freedom today, so hopefully the course is hard enough, I’m not really sure. I’ll try. It could be a group coming to the finish. I’m not sure the climbs are long enough but when it’s this hot, anything could happen."

George Bennett Jumbo-Visma Tour Down Under

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

-65km

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) have 4:43 over the peloton on the haul towards Monforte d'Alba.

Trek-Segafredo, Jumbo-Visma and Astana are all putting men at the head of the peloton on this finishing circuit. Van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix are spared that duty by Walsleben's presence in the break.

Mathieu van der Poel is looking to emulate his father Adri, who won the Giro del Piemonte, as it was then known, in 1987. “It’s pretty hard but normally in good conditions, I should be able to survive this," Van der Poel Jr. told the host broadcaster at the start in Santo Stefano Belbo. "In the few races I did, I was not in super condition, but not bad at all. But I feel it’s going better and better, and today maybe I can go for the win. It would be good for me to go with a group of 30 riders to the finish, but it will be hard with the conditions. The bunch could split pretty fast.”

SIENA ITALY AUGUST 01 Start Mathieu Van der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix during the Eroica 14th Strade Bianche 2020 Men a 184km race from Siena to SienaPiazza del Campo StradeBianche on August 01 2020 in Siena Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

-59km

The break's lead drops beneath 4 minutes for the first time as they descend to Gallo d'Alba ahead of the ascent to La Morra.

The Giro del Piemonte has taken place just about all over Piedmont (and even in Valle d'Aosta) over the years, but this route through the verdant hills of the Langhe may be the most aesthetically pleasing yet. The next 55km will tell us if the sporting merits of the course match the visual effect.  

Astana and Jumbo-Visma are assembled en masse at the head of the bunch, while Trek-Segafredo are also contributing to the pursuit of the break, which is 3:40 clear.

The break is tackling the climb of La Morra and it seems that Scotson had a mechanical issue, but he is latching back up to Honoré, Walsleben and Rosskopf.

-53km

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 3:33

Callum Scotson sits up and rolls to a halt at the roadside. He seems to be suffering from cramp and that is the end of his stint off the head of the peloton. He stops again in a bid to stretch his calves, but this might be the end of his race altogether. 

Callum Scotson has abandoned the race, leaving three men out in front: Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team).

-50km

Jumbo-Visma and Astana are still assembled on the hit of the peloton and still whittling away at the advantage of the break, which stands at 3 minutes.

The riders will get another sight of the final kick up to Barolo in a couple of kilometres as they complete their first complete lap of the finishing circuit. 

-46km

Rosskopf, Honore and Walsleben are in the final 2km of the circuit and sampling the finishing climb for the penultimate time. Their lead is 2:33 on a Jumbo and Astana led peloton. 

Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo) attacks from the peloton at the beginning of the climb to Barolo.

-44km

Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) leads Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) through the finish line to take the bell. The road kicks up to its steepest section in the final kilometre Barolo shortly before it hits a flatter, cobbled section. 

Mosca, meanwhile, has been pegged back by the peloton on the climb towards Barolo.

Mosca leads the peloton through the bell, 2:15 down on the break.

Situation

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 2:15

This is what the closing kilometres in Barolo look like, though before that, attackers will surely look to forge clear on the ascents to Montforte d'Alba with 24km to go and La Morra with 7km remaining.

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

-39km

The favourites, including Nibali, Bennett, Vlasov and Van der Poel, are all still present in the peloton, which is 2:17 behind the three escapees.

Rosskopf, Honore and Walsleben are still collaborating well at the head of the race, 2:18 clear of the bunch. The American has looked the strongman of the group in recent kilometres. Jumbo-Visma and Astana, meanwhile, continue to pile on the pressure behind, with the a reduced bunch strung out behind them. It certainly looks as though a few riders opted to climb off on reaching Barolo with 44km to go.

Umberto Marengo (Vini Zabu-KTM) is in action this afternoon in what is a local race for the Piedmont rider. We caught with Marengo during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, when he dedicated himself to delivering food and supplies to the housebound.

Vini Zabù-KTM’s Umberto Marengo helps out his local community during the coronavirus pandemic by delivering food to those who are unable to get to the shops

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A flurry of accelerations in the bunch at Dogliani. Gazprom kicked off the attacking, then Michael Albasini followed up. Vincenzo Nibali was also tracking the moves. The situation has been diffused for now and the bunch is back together, but we can surely expect more aggression from this reduced peloton of 70 or so riders.

-31.5km

Manuele Boaro (Astana) returns to the head of the gruppo in a bid to restore some order to their pursuit of the three escapees, who still have 2 minutes of an advantage.

Situation

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 1:54

Into the final 30km for Honore, Walsleben and Rosskopf, who are beginning the gentle ascent towards Montforte d'Alba with a lead of 1:39 over the bunch.

-28km

Israel Start-Up Nation are working at the head of the bunch on behalf of Ben Hermans. UAE Team Emirates and Trek-Segafredo are also contributing to the pace-making, and the gap is down to 1:28.

Salvatore Puccio is also prominent now for Team Ineos, who have Gianni Moscon, Ivan Sosa and Ben Swift in their ranks this afternoon.

Jumbo-Visma still have four riders around their leader George Bennett near the front of this peloton on the climb towards Monforte d'Alba. Mathieu van der Poel is moving up on Petr Vakoc's wheel.

-27km

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 1:18

The break's lead is starting to melt steadily now as the pace ratchets up further in the bunch. The skies are decidedly overcast and leaden, but they will hope to finish before the heavens open...

Ivan Sosa is tucked onto Gianni Moscon's wheel in the main peloton, which perahsp indicates the Ineos hierarchy in the finale.

-25km

Rosskopf accelerates in the break near the top of the climb to Monforte d'Alba, and their unity seems likely to fragment. Honore and Walsleben chase him down, and then Honore makes a dig of his own.

-24km

Rosskopf leads Honoré and Walsleben into Monforte d'Alba with a lead of 1:10 over the peloton.

Salvatore Puccio sets the tempo in the peloton on the haul to Monforte d'Alba, with Jacopo Mosca on his wheel. Jumbo-Visma and Astana are positioned en masse behind them.

Mosca takes over at the head of the bunch in the cobbled heart of Monforte as they face into the descent.

-21km

Break:

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team)

Peloton at 1:07

-20km

A crash in the peloton on the sinuous descent from Monforte d'Alba, and that's brought an end to the challenges of Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar). They are both on their feet again, but they won't catch the peloton. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) and Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix) also went down. Both have remounted but it's hard to imagine anyone getting back on.

-18km

The break's lead drops inside a minute for the first time, as Mosca continues to string out the peloton on the twisting drop from Monforte.

-17km

Salvatore Puccio is now on front of the bunch for Ineos. The break's lead drops to 49 seconds.

Rosskopf attempts to breathe life into the break with a long turn on the front. Honore and Walsleben are still with him, but their gap on the bunch is dwindling on the approach to the climb to La Morra.

Manuele Boaro comes back to the head of the bunch to take a turn for Astana. The gap is 45 seconds with 15km remaining.

-13km

36 seconds the gap for Honore, Rosskopf and Walsleben, who are still fully committed to their effort. Trek, Astana and Ineos are swapping turns at the head of the chasing bunch.

RAI reports that there are some drops of rain falling at the finish in Barolo, but the expected shower might just  about hold off until this race is over. 

-12km

The images from the finish, however, suggest that the rain is falling quite steadily. This might change the dynamic on the sweeping bends in the finale... The peloton are on dry roads for the time being.

Boaro puts in a long, long turn at the front of the peloton before swinging over for Puccio. 31 seconds the deficit to the three escapees.

-10km

There are only around 50 or so riders left in this peloton, which is just 28 seconds down on the three escapees, who are almost on the climb towards La Morra.

The gap drops to 20 seconds... The break won't survive the climb of La Morra, where we can expect fireworks in the peloton...

-9km

Alpecin-Fenix move up on behalf of Van der Poel and in anticipation of the break being swept up...

UAE Team Emirates take over as the climb of La Morra begins in earnest. Jumbo-Visma are also prominent. The bunch is just 10 seconds behind the leaders.

Walsleben is dropped by the break. Rosskopf and Honore are 9 seconds ahead of the closing bunch, which is being led by Jumbo-Visma.

-8.5km

Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) are caught by the reduced peloton a kilometre or so from the top of the climb to La Morra.

Chris Harper sets the pace on the front for Jumbo-Visma, with Dries Deveyns (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on his wheel. This tempo is stringing out the front group and serving to discourage any attacks.

Vincenzo Nibali lurks with menace in fifth place...

-7.7km

Vincenzo Nibali hits the front with Giulio Ciccone on his wheel, and this acceleration has broken the bunch in two...

Nibali swings off, and now George Bennett hits the front. He accelerates from the front and only Gianni Moscon can hold his wheel. This duo has opened a gap over the fragmented front group on the climb of La Morra...

-7km

Bennett distances Moscon but the Italian is battling to limit the damage before the descent. Mathieu van der Poel is trying to bridge across alone, and he is closing in...

Van der Poel catches and passes Moscon at the top of the climb to La Morra, and he chases Bennett over the other side.

-6km

George Bennett carries a small lead over Van der Poel and Moscon onto the descent, where the roads are damp with rain...

Van der Poel and Moscon have been joined by four other riders in pursuit of Bennett, who has stretched out his advantage definitively on this descent...

-5km

George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) has 10 seconds in hand on a 6-man group that includes Van der Poel, Moscon, Alessandro De Marchi and Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott).

-4km

Bennett is on dry roads again and holding onto an advantage of 10 seconds over the chasers. Van der Poel, Moscon, Ion Izagirre (Astana) Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Alessandro De Marchi and Attila Valter (CCC Team) are in this chasing group.

-2.5km

Bennett is stretching out his lead. 17 seconds the gap with 2.5km to go, as rain falls steadily over the race. 

-2km

The collaboration is a little unwieldy in the chasing group, which is now 21 seconds behind George Bennett...

Alessandro De Marchi sets off in lone pursuit of Bennett as rain falls heavily over the front of the race. The chasing group is expanding to 12 or so riders, but they are getting no closer to the flying Bennett.

-1km

Into the uphill final kilometre for George Bennet, who has 19 seconds in hand on that expanded chasing group. This has the look of a winning gap for the New Zealander.

George Bennett is in the big ring on the gentler lower slopes, and he doesn't look like losing his momentum when the gradient bites.

George Bennett climbs out of the saddle in the final 400m, as rain hammers on Barolo. Simon Geschke leads the chasing group and the gap is closing...

Diego Ulissi rips clear of the chasing group on the steepest gradient and the Italian is closing rapidly on Bennett...

Ulissi is within touching distance of Bennett, but the Italian is running out of road...

George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) wins Gran Piemonte.

Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) took second place, while Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) won the sprint for third.

Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) took fourth, ahead of Simon Geschke (CCC Team), Alex Aranburu (Astana) and Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafred) and Attila Valter (CCC Team) completed the top 10.

BAROLO ITALY AUGUST 12 George Bennett of New Zealand and Team JumboVisma Gianni Moscon of Italy and Team INEOS during the 104th Giro del Piemonte 2020 a 187km race from Santo Stefano Belbo to Barolo 294m GranPiemonte GranPiemonte on August 12 2020 Barolo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Result

1 George Bennett (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 4:38:23

2 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

3 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 00:00:04

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team

5 Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team

6 Alex Aranburu (Spa) Astana Pro Team

7 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep

8 Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:07

9 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo

10 Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team

That's the second win of Bennett's professional career after the general classification of 2017 Tour of California. It is also Jumbo-Visma's second win of the afternoon after Wout van Aert's victory on the opening stage of the Criterium du Dauphine. It is also Jumbo-Visma's seventh victory since August 1. A remarkable purple patch.

George Bennett speaks: "I only had two days left this season where I could ride for myself; today and Saturday, and then I go back to being a domestique. On our team, we have the best riders in the world, so I had an opportunity now, on this team, and I really had to take it. I’m really happy that I could do it today. I told the boys that I wanted to try and they really did a wonderful job. I’m really happy.

"They told us in the radio half way that Wout [Van Aert] won at the Dauphine, Wout is winning, everyone is winning everywhere I wanted to get in on the action. I waited until the last part of the race. I was worried it wasn’t hard enough, so I asked the boys to make it as hard as they could. They did a good job, all the boys positioned me all day…

"Vincenzo [Nibali] tried to attack and as soon as he was fading a little bit, I went. I was a bit scared on the downhill when it was half rain-half dry, that’s always scary because you don’t know how hard you can push. I tried to take it as easy as I could but still go fast."

Mathieu van der Poel wasn't able to make it across to Bennett over the top of La Morra, but he will draw some encouragement from his third-place finish in Barolo after coming away empty-handed from Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo. "It was a very hard final with a lot of climbers today," Van der Poel said afterwards. "I think I did a good job on the last climb to keep my own pace but in the final we didn’t come close enough to sprint for the win.It was again very hot today and the pace was very high the whole day because the breakaway was quite strong.I felt good but not super. It’s getting better and better."

Milano Sanremo 2020 111th Edition Milano Sanremo 305 km 08082020 Poggio Mathieu Van Der Poel NED Alpecin Fenix photo Tommaso PelagalliBettiniPhoto2020

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

BAROLO ITALY AUGUST 12 Podium George Bennett of New Zealand and Team JumboVisma Celebration Trophy during the 104th Giro del Piemonte 2020 a 187km race from Santo Stefano Belbo to Barolo 294m GranPiemonte GranPiemonte on August 12 2020 Barolo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

BAROLO ITALY AUGUST 12 George Bennett of New Zealand and Team JumboVisma during the 104th Giro del Piemonte 2020 a 187km race from Santo Stefano Belbo to Barolo 294m GranPiemonte GranPiemonte on August 12 2020 Barolo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Sport Images)

BAROLO ITALY AUGUST 12 Arrival George Bennett of New Zealand and Team JumboVisma Celebration Diego Ulissi of Italy and Team UAE Team Emirates during the 104th Giro del Piemonte 2020 a 187km race from Santo Stefano Belbo to Barolo 294m GranPiemonte GranPiemonte on August 12 2020 Barolo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) reacts to his second-place finish, just behind George Bennett: "When you get this close to winning and you can't take it, you are left with regret. The team was fantastic, they were close to me in key moments trying to close the gap on Bennett after I tried to fight back on the last climb, having not had the legs to follow him. My teammates were great in reducing the gap, then on the last climb I went from very far out to try to bridge across, but I didn't make it."

Thanks for following our live coverage of Gran Piemonte this afternoon. A full report, results and pictures are available here. We'll be back with live coverage from the Critérium du Dauphiné tomorrow and we will also have live coverage on Saturday of the week's main event, Il Lombardia.

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