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Skujins wins Tre Valli Varesine

Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) claimed victory at the 2018 Tre Valli Varesine, winning from a group of seven that arrived at the line in Varese.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) opened the sprint but was unable to match Skujins’ finishing speed and had to settle for second place, while Peter Kennaugh (Bora-Hansgrohe), who had launched a solo bid for victory several kilometres previously, took the final spot on the podium.

Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First-Drapac) had attacked from the peloton and caught and breezed past Kennaugh on the final incline, but he was joined for the slightly downhill final few kilometres by Pinot and his own teammate Michael Woods, with Skujins, Kennaugh, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), and Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale), jumping on board, having been part of earlier attacks.

Urán led the way in the final kilometre to keep a chase group containing Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at bay, and while he succeeded in doing so, Woods was unable to make an impact in the sprint as Skujins ripped down the right-hand side of the road before punching the air.

The one-day race, part of a string of autumn Italian Classics and the third and final instalment of the Trittico Lombardo series, centred on two circuits around Varese, with six laps of ‘the short circuit’ - a 12.6km loop over the Montello climb (1.7km at 5.5%) - and two laps of ‘the long circuit’ - a 21.2km loop that took in the Montello and then another climb to Morosolo (1.7km at 7.6%).

Skujins and Frank, were in a trio - along with Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott) - that went clear on the final part of the first of the long laps, and they were joined after the bell by Kennaugh and Kelderman, as well as Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Ivan Santaromita (Nippo Vini Fantini).

Power attacked on the final climb up Morosolo and Kennaugh was the next to chance his arm over the other side but, with the peloton close at hand, Urán ripped across and looked commanding as he passed the escapees and dropped Kennaugh on a subsequent incline. Pinot was the one to respond from the bunch and he made his way across with Woods in tow, as Skujins, Kelderman, Kennaugh, and Frank tagged along.

There was little chasing force in the vastly reduced peloton behind, and the seven riders entered the final few hundred metres with a sufficient advantage, with Skujins collecting his fourth victory of his best season to date with a convincing sprint.

How it unfolded

It was a fast start to proceedings, with 48 kilometres covered in an attacking first hour of racing. It took 35km for a proper breakaway to form, and it contained Matteo Bono (UAE Team Emirates), Michael Storer (Team Sunweb), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Edoardo Zardini (Willier Triestina-Selle Italia) and Paolo Toto (Sangemini - MG Kvis). The escapees opened up a lead of nearly nine minutes on the flat opening section of the route, but the gap steadily decreased on the climb to Castello Cabiaglio (7.2km at 3.5 per cent) and the descent towards Varese.

The breakaway riders crossed the finished line for the first time with a lead of five minutes but that was reduced to three minutes after two laps of the short circuit and to 1:30 after four laps. Just ahead of the final lap, with just over 50km remaining in total, the race ignited as some big names attacked from the peloton and made their way over to the head of the race.

Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Leo Vincent (Groupama-FDJ), Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Andrea Bagioli (UAE Team Emirates), Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) were the first to go, while Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data) and Sebastien Reichenbach) left it a little later but soon made it across. All of the breakaway riders, with the exception of Zardini, fell away, leaving 13 riders at the head of affairs.

Those 13 finished the last of the short laps and crossed the finish line for the start of the two long laps with a lead of 35 seconds, but EF-Drapac set a strong tempo at the head of the bunch and the escapees were reeled in on the Morosolo climb.

That sparked attacks on the slightly downhill final part of the first lap, and Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), and Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott) succeeded in getting away to take the bell in the lead, though they were soon joined by five counter-attackers: Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Ivan Santaromita (Nippo Vini Fantini). Latecomer Peter Kennaugh (Bora-Hansgrohe) then bridged across to make it nine out front with a slim advantage heading into the final 20km.

On the final ascent of Montello the hostilities kicked off behind, with David Gaudu (FDJ) producing an acceleration to which Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) immediately responded, with many of the favourites jumping to force a brief split of around 20. Rigoberto Urán (EF-Drapac) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) both led the reduced bunch down the descent, and the attacks continued on the flatter roads, with Guillaume Boivin (Israel Academy) dangling in front with Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) for a while.

The nine leaders hit the final climb of Morosolo with a lead of around 20 seconds, and Power piled on the pressure. First he created a selection, dropping Santaromita, Buchmann, Visconti, and Tolhoek and kicked again to lead solo over the top of the climb. Power was soon reeled in, and Kennaugh in turn went on a solo attack ahead of a secondary incline.
By this point the peloton was close at hand, and Urán went on the attack.

He quickly made his way over to the dropped breakaway riders before reaching Kennaugh and breezing past the Briton. The response came from Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who closed the gap with Uran’s teammate Michael Woods on the wheel. Skujins, Kennaugh, Frank, and Kelderman also produced second efforts to make what turned out to be the decisive selection.

Valverde was in the group behind, racing in the world champion’s jersey for the first time, and so was Nibali, but they were unable to claw their way back, leaving the leading seven to sprint it out and Skujins to emerge victorious.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo4:55:41
2Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
3Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Bora-Hansgrohe
4Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
6Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
7Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:04
8Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:13
9Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
11Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
12Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
13Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF
14George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo
15Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
16Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
17Davide Vilella (Ita) Astana Pro Team
18Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
19Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
20Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
21Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ
22Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
23Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
24Simone Ponzi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:01:02
25Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy
26Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
27Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data
28Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
29Simone Velasco (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
30Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
31Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data
32Luca Wackermann (Ita) Bardiani CSF
33Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF
34Jose Manuel Diaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy
35Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
36Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
37Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida
38Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott
39Sebastian Shonberger (Aut) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
40Matteo Badilatti (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
41Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:04
42Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
43Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
44Rob Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:06
45Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
46Marco Tizza (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:01:38
47Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
48Pierpaolo Ficara (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir
49Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:01:40
50Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:02:43
51Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:52
52Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
53Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
54Mirko Trosino (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir
55Luca Raggio (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
56Andrey Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
57Davide Gaburro (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir
58Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
59David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ
60Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
61Daan Olivier (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
62Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
63Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
64Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
65Awet Andemeskel (Eri) Israel Cycling Academy
66Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
67Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:04:10
68Michele Gazzara (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega0:04:26
69Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
70Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
71Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott0:05:42
72Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
73Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
74Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
75Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo0:06:23
76Koen Bouwmam (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
77Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:06:48
78Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:07:34
79Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:03
80Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
81Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
82Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
83Ivan Martinelli (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord0:08:06
84Mattia Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:10:18
85Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
86Antonio Di Sante (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega
87Andrea Garosio (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord
88Dario Puccioni (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega
89Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani CSF
90Andrea Bagioli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
91Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFHector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFCarlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team
DNFWinner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team
DNFJosé Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFNans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFAntonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFKristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
DNFMichael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFMiguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team
DNFNikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNFTanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
DNFJérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ
DNFLéo Vincent (Fra) FDJ
DNFPawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFBen Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFEugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFGregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
DNFMichael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo
DNFMichael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNFChristopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNFLennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFMichael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNFJai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNFVictor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFLuis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFSimon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
DNFHugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
DNFJoe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
DNFJosé Fernandes Neves (Por) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
DNFCyrus Monk (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
DNFStephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data
DNFBen O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data
DNFMatteo Sobrero (Ita) Dimension Data
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension Data
DNFDanilo Celano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFAlvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFJustin Oien (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFLuis Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFCristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFRuben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFGuy Niv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFGiovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFAlessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF
DNFRoman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFEvgeny Kobernyak (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFEvgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFVladislav Kulikov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFAlexandr Kulikovskiy (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFAndrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFSho Hatsuyama (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
DNFJoan Bou Company (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
DNFMiguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
DNFNicholas Rinaldi (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
DNFIlia Koshevoy (Blr) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
DNFZahiri Abderrahim (Mar) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
DNFFabio Mazzucco (Ita) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
DNFManuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
DNFGerman Nicolas Tivani Perez (Arg) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
DNFFilippo Zana (Ita) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
DNFColin Chris Stüssi (Swi) Amore & Vita-Prodir
DNFMarco Bernardinetti (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir
DNFAntonio Zullo (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir
DNFMichele Corradini (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir
DNFNicola Gaffurini (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega
DNFPaolo Totò (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega
DNFFrancesco Bettini (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord
DNFEttore Carlini (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord
DNFEmanuele Onesti (Ita) D'Amico Utensilnord
DNSLuca Colnaghi (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis-Vega

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