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Fabio Aru solos to first Italian road race title

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Fabio Aru wins the Italian national championship road race.

Fabio Aru wins the Italian national championship road race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Diego Ulissi finished second at Italian nationals

Diego Ulissi finished second at Italian nationals (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Aru taking it all in after winning Italian nationals

Fabio Aru taking it all in after winning Italian nationals (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Aru all smiles in the tricolore

Fabio Aru all smiles in the tricolore (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The sprint for minor placings at the Italian national championships

The sprint for minor placings at the Italian national championships (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Podium celebrations at Italian nationals

Podium celebrations at Italian nationals (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Aru after his nationals win

Fabio Aru after his nationals win (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sonny Colbrelli in the Italian national championship road race

Sonny Colbrelli in the Italian national championship road race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Simone Sterbini in the break at the Italian national championships

Simone Sterbini in the break at the Italian national championships (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Aru celebrates a national title

Fabio Aru celebrates a national title (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Diego Ulissi won the sprint for second at Italian nationals.

Diego Ulissi won the sprint for second at Italian nationals. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bahrain Merida at the Italian road nationals team presentation

Bahrain Merida at the Italian road nationals team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giacomo Nizzolo signs on at Italian nationals.

Giacomo Nizzolo signs on at Italian nationals. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Elia Viviani at the start of the Italian national championship road race

Elia Viviani at the start of the Italian national championship road race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Davide Villella and Alberto Bettiol sign on for the Italian national championship road race.

Davide Villella and Alberto Bettiol sign on for the Italian national championship road race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Aru takes the Italian title

Fabio Aru takes the Italian title (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The podium of the Italian national championship road race

The podium of the Italian national championship road race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rinaldo Nocentini finished third at nationals in Italy.

Rinaldo Nocentini finished third at nationals in Italy. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Italian national road race peloton

The Italian national road race peloton (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Fabio Aru (Astana) claimed his first win of 2017 at the Italian national championship road race on Sunday, right on time ahead of his second Tour de France appearance. The 26-year-old soloed to victory in Ivrea, with UAE Team Emirates' Diego Ulissi claiming second and Rinaldo Nocentini (Sporting Clube de Portugal/Tavria) rounding out the podium in third.

"I'm really happy to win today after all the difficult moments I experienced this year", Aru said after his victory. "Initially the course might have looked easy but the climb was really hard. On Tuesday, I came to recon it with Paolo [Tiralongo]. From then on, I believed I had my chance to become the Italian champion. I never experienced that before. In the u23, I finished second. That was my best result so far. I'm really happy to have made my dream come true today. It's an immense satisfaction. The competition was so high with [Gianni] Moscon, [Damiano] Caruso, my friend Diego Ulissi and many others on good form."

The Italian championship was organized by RCS Sport from Asti to Ivrea in Piedmont as if it was the Gran Piemonte won in September last year by the 2016 Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo. But it was a harder course this time around, with a seven-kilometre climb of La Serra to be done four times on a final circuit of 21.3 kilometres. Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo), Simone Sterbini (Bardiani CSF) and Ettore Carlini (d'Amico Ustensilnord), the attackers from kilometre 22, got caught in the second last lap by a group of 25 riders that included all the favourites, among them Vincenzo Nibali, who riding in support of Bahrain-Merida teammate Giovanni Visconti. However, the strong selection couldn't hold Aru in check.

"My plan was to go flat out from the bottom of the climb in the last lap," said Aru who followed the plan at perfection. "Once I made a gap, I was informed kilometre by kilometre. I couldn't believe it when I heard that I was 40 seconds ahead. Looking at the speed, I was always between 50 and 52 kilometres an hour. I was feeling strong."

"Being four riders swapping turns, we didn't regain any time on Fabio", third-placed Nocentini noted. "He impressed me really. As I saw him going as strongly at the Dauphiné, I understood he would be hard to beat. I hope he'll win the Tour de France too. I'm looking forward to see another Italian in the yellow jersey, like me eight years ago and Nibali three years ago. It's very important for me to make the podium of the Italian championship. Being part of a Portuguese team, I almost never race in Italy. Two months ago I didn't know if I'd ride the nationals or not. When I decided to do it, I prepared well for it."

Runner up Ulissi was also full of praise for Aru. "He demonstrated to have better legs than anyone else", the Tuscan said. "He deserves the win. As for myself, I can go to the Tour de France with ambition. The good work is paying off. I hope to win a stage."

Aru concluded the afternoon on a serious note with emotional words for his tragically deceased team-mate Michele Scarponi. "During a training ride in Sierra Nevada, we exchanged jerseys because I had the extra-small size and I wanted to try the small," the Sardinian revealed. "I haven't told anyone but since I've resumed racing, I've been racing with Michele's jersey. I wanted to offer it after my first victory to his wife Anna and his children Giacomo and Tommaso. I'll deliver the jersey to them."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team5:52:31
2Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:00:40
3Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Sporting / Tavira
4Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
5Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky
6Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini0:00:48
7Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
10Davide Rebellin (Ita) Kuwait - Cartucho.es0:00:50
11Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:00:58
12Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:13
13Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:02:48
14Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:03:53
15Matteo Busato (Ita) Wilier Triestina
16Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:05:27
17Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
18Marco Zamparella (Ita) Amore & Vita - Selle SMP p/b Fondriest0:06:24
19Iuri Filosi (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
20Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:06:25
21Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:08:56
22Nicolas Samparisi (Ita) d'Amico - Utensilnord
23Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina
24Adriano Brogi (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
25Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
26Marco Tizza (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
27Simone Velasco (Ita) Bardiani CSF
28Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
29Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
30Antonino Casimir Parrinello (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
31Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky
32Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
33Fabio Tommassini (Ita) d'Amico - Utensilnord
34Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
35Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
36Michele Gazzara (Ita) Sangemini - MG.Kvis
37Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
38Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
39Davide Pacchiardo (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
40Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
41Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
42Andrea Ruscetta (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
43Raffaello Bonusi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
44Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:15:10
45Nicola Gaffurini (Ita) Sangemini - MG.Kvis
46Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:15:12
47Davide Mucelli (Ita) Meridiana Kamen Team
48Paolo Toto' (Ita) Sangemini - MG.Kvis0:16:35
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFRoberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFEdward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFMarco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFFilippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFValerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFAntonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFRiccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFOscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFMoreno Moser (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFMatteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFMarco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFMatteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFManuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team
DNFDaniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team
DNFManuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
DNFAlessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team
DNFFabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
DNFEros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
DNFGiacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ
DNFElia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFPaolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFVincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFLuca Wackermann (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFPaolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFMarco Maronese (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFAlessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFSimone Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFMauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
DNFPier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
DNFDamiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
DNFGiacomo Berlato (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
DNFMichele Scartezzini (Ita) Sangemini - MG.Kvis
DNFNiccolò Salvietti (Ita) Sangemini - MG.Kvis
DNFPaolo Prandini (Ita) Sangemini - MG.Kvis
DNFNicola Baglioli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
DNFAntonio Di Sante (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
DNFLuca Chirico (Ita) Torku Sekerspor
DNFAlberto Cecchin (Ita) Wilier Triestina
DNFAngelo Vitiello (Ita) d'Amico - Utensilnord
DNFFrancesco Petrini (Ita) d'Amico - Utensilnord
DNFEttore Carlini (Ita) d'Amico - Utensilnord
DNFFederico Canuti (Ita) d'Amico - Utensilnord
DNFMichael Bresciani (Ita) Bardiani - CSF
DNFNicolò Pacinotti (Ita) Bardiani - CSF
DNFEdoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani - CSF
DNFRiccardo Stacchiotti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini
DNFAlex Turrin (Ita) Wilier Triestina
DNFMirko Trosino (Ita) Wilier Triestina
DNFFilippo Pozzato (Ita) Wilier Triestina
DNFJakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina
DNFLiam Bertazzo (Ita) Wilier Triestina
DNFManuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina
DNFSimone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFAndrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFMatteo Spreafico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFAndrea Palini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFLuca Pacioni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFMatteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFMarco Benfatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFMattia Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli

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