Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2015 edition of Milano-Torino, 186 kilometres in length.
test. test. 2.2
Hello there. We're getting into the swing of things now in the series of late-season Italian one-day races. Il Lombardia on Sunday is the big one, but plenty of top riders are out in force today in Milano-Torino.
Here's the profile of the race
As we pick up the action there are 45 kilometres left to race. We have a breakaway of five riders who have a four-minute advantage over the peloton.
The five escapees are: Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka), Samuele Conti (Southeast), Luca Chirico (Bardiani CSF), Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo-Vini Fantini), and Nicolas Lefrancois (Novo Nordisk).
Astana are driving things in the peloton and the gap is starting to come down. They're working for Fabio Aru today, who was one of the men who helped Vincenzo Nibali to victory in the Tre Valli Varesine yesterday.
The break's lead is coming down really quickly now as Movistar join Astana on the front of the strung-out bunch.
With 32km left to race, the gap is down to 1:35 and ever-falling.
A reminder that the first ascent of the Superga is coming up with just under 24km to go.
The peloton is bombing along and the breakaway riders know that the game is up. The gap is just 20 seconds now and it looks like it's all going to come together ahead of this first climb - where the decisive selections will start to be made.
The breakaway riders are unceremoniously swallowed up as Sky come to the front and keep the pace high as we approach the foot of the Superga.
The climb is 4.3km long with a stinging average gradient of 9%.
Three Sky riders are on the front of the bunch at the moment as the gradient ramps up. Kiryienka is there with Poels and Nieve.
And now Leopold Konig attacks. He springs from the middle of the bunch in a move clearly planned by Team Sky.
Konig is pegged back as two Astana riders take things up on the front of a thinning peloton.
As the double-figure gradients ease slightly the riders knock out a steady tempo. There's still a fair amount of riders in this front group but the group should thin out further by the top of this climb.
The Basilica of Superga stands imperiously on the top of the hillside. The riders won't be going all the way up there on this ascent - they'll be peeling off before heading downhill and then attacking it again all the way to the top - and the finish line.
The big names are all in tow as Tiralongo continues to set the pace towards the top of the climb. The real attacks and selections will have to come on the next ascent.
Dan Martin, defending Lombardia champion, spoke to Eurosport before the stage.
"It's been hard but I've trained really well up in Andorra at altitude. When you've got Lombardy coming up, as defending champion you can't not be motivated. The only thing I might be lacking today is that race pace."
The peloton strings out on this fast descent. It's all together still with Tiralongo and Rosa still on the front for Astana.
When we reach the bottom of this descent, there'll be a stretch of flat ahead of the final climb. We could see some attacks there from riders looking to steal a march on the purer climbers.
There are about 30-odd riders in this front group. Still Tiralongo works on the front, keeping the pace high enough to dissuade any attackers.
7km remaining from 186km
There doesn't seem to be any real intention from anyone to attack at this stage. We start climbing again in less than 3km.
Aru, Martin, Sergio Henao, Kruijswijk are all in there.
Astana have come off the front at last and we're about to start climbing.
So, 5km, 9%. This is where the race will be won and lost. Who will go first?
Matteo Montaguti is the first to attack but he's chased down quickly by Rafal Majka, who has opened up a gap.
Majka's early attack is short-lived as Davide Villella comes to the front and gets a gap.
Alexis Vuillermoz is chasing VIllella down. We all know what he can do on short uphill finishes.
Vuillermoz has dragged Diego Rosa and Dani Moreno with him and they have caught Villella.
3km remaining from 186km
With Rosa up the road, where's Fabio Aru? The leading quartet has a small gap with 3 to go.
Majka starts to close the gap and drags some riders with him as the bridge is made to the leaders.
Vuillermoz goes again! Rosa is alive to it, Majka there in third. The gradients are really ramping up now.
Rosa attacks now and no one can follow
Rosa has managed to pull out a really decent advantage there in a short space of time. Those behind hesitate for a moment.
Majka comes to the front but it's Poels who launches a proper attack to set off in pursuit of Rosa.
There are 10 riders in the group behind Poels, led by Vuillermoz, who has two teammates with him.
Majka comes back towards Poels now, with Pinot on his wheel.
1km remaining from 186km
Rosa is still out of the saddle and still pushing on. He's got a really healthy lead here with little over a kilometre to go.
Rosa has about 10 seconds over Majka, who has now dropped his fellow chasers.
Final kilometre and the road kicks up again. Majka is grimacing, he can see Rosa round a bend ahead of him, and time is running out.
Rosa surely has this in the bag now.
Pinot has pushed on and is heading for a third place finish.
Rosa checks over his shoulder and can't see a soul. He must realise he's got this but he gets out of the saddle once more and kicks towards the final hundred metres.
Rosa sits up, shows off the jersey and celebrates his win in front of home support.
Majka comes through for second. He was never really able to gain any time on Rosa in those final couple of kilometres.
Aru comes through and pips Pinot for third. The Sicilian punches the air, clearly delighted with the victory for his teammate who has worked so well for him this season.
Pinot fourth, Poels fifth.
Impressive stuff from Astana, who won the Tre Valli Varesine yesterday with Nibali and now a 1-3 here at Milano-Torino.
That's Diego Rosa's first win as a professional.
Rosa has just spoken to TV - here's what he had to say:
"Today was a really nice race for me. The team is really strong at the moment. For me it's the first victory - here in Torino it's perfect for me. Normally I work for the team but today was a big opportunity for me. The win is perfect."
Here's the top-10:
1 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 04:27:51
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:00:16
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:00:18
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 00:00:20
5 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 00:00:23
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 00:00:32
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
9 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 00:00:36
10 Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 00:00:39
That's it for our live coverage of Milano-Torino. Thanks for joining us, and don't forget to put a date in your diary for Il Lombardia on Sunday!
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