Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2019 Tre Valli Varesine
As we pick up the action, with just under 100km still to race, we have four riders in the breakaway with a lead of just over a minute on the peloton. They are:
Michael Gogl (Trek Segafredo)
Umberto Marengo (Neri Sottoli)
Jose Herrada (Cofidis)
Davide Ballerini (Astana)
Originally, there were six of them, but Valerio Agnoli (Bahrain-Merida) and Mattia Frapporti (Androni-Giocattoli) have been dropped.
The route has changed this year and so, after a relatively flat opening, the riders climbed to Motta Rossa after 75km and are now on a 'short circuit' of 13km, with a couple of short climbs. They'll do that five times, before taking on two laps of a longer 25km circuit, with three climbs. Whereas last year saw a flatter final few kilometres, this year sees an uphill finish.
On the third lap, on the Via Montello, the early climb on the circuit (1.8km at 5.2%), Marengo is dropped, leaving three out front.
New world champion Mads Pedersen's second outing in the rainbow jersey has come to another early end. After abandoning the Tour de l'Europmetropole at the weekend, he has climbed off here, still suffering with a cold.
My colleague Stephen Farrand interviewed Pedersen in Italy yesterday and this pieces comes highly recommended.
Gogl, Ballerini, and Herrada come across the finish line for the fourth time with the lead growing again. It's back out to 1:30 as they take on the fourth of the five laps of this short circuit.
The average speed so far is just under 42km/h
It's a packed list of contenders today, including Giro d'Italia winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and Vuelta a España winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), along with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Jakub Fuglsang (Astana), Sergio Higuita (EF Education First), Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe), and the UAE Team Emirates duo of Diego Ulissi and Dan Martin.
Jumbo-Visma are working at the front of the peloton. Lotto Soudal have done plenty of work already - forgot to mention them in my last post but they're here with Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot.
55km remaining and the three leaders are coming towards the end of the final lap of this first circuit before embarking on the two laps of the longer finishing circuit. They still have a lead of 1:15 over the peloton.
Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) is here, and he's a rider searching to scramble something from a trying season. For more on him and others in the same boat, here's our main feature today:
Here we go, then. Gogl, Ballerini, and Herrada come to the finish line once again and take us onto the finishing circuit.
Two laps of 26.7km coming up, starting with the same climb as the previous circuit, the Via Montello (1.8 km at 5.2%), followed after a descent by the Morosolo (1.7 km at 7.5%) and the Casciago (1.7 km at 5.2%) in quick succession. Another descent takes us to the foot of the final kick to the line, 1.1km at 5.1 per cent.
Tao Geogheghan Hart (Ineos) kicks off the attacks in the peloton
This draws out Bahrain-Merida's Ivan Garcia Cortina and EF's Simon Clarke. The gap to the three breakaway riders begins to tumble.
More attacks ping off the front now and it's very disorganised out there.
Herrada has been dropped from the break.
Gogl and Ballerini press on with a lead of 40 seconds
FDJ come to the front of the bunch as it strings out.
The peloton begins to bunch up once more on the flat, and the gap moves out to 45 seconds. The red jerseys of Androni come to the fore.
And now they hit the Morosolo climb and AG2R take it up
Gogl is dropped, leaving Ballerini on his own. More accelerations in the bunch and the gap comes down to 25 seconds with 37km to go
Ballerini is caught as David Gaudu (FDJ) goes on the attack.
Gaudu is tracked by George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), with several others being drawn out behind.
Nibali, Martin, Formolo all up at the front now, just as Rudy Molard takes it up for FDJ.
A group of 15 or so has clipped off over the top of that pair of climbs.
The group includes Valverde, Martin, Woods, Gaudu, Molard, Luis Leon Sanchez, Dunbar, Formolo, Teuns, Kelderman, Ulissi, Bidard, Bennett.
They're heading downhill now ahead of the final kick up towards the finish line, where the bell will sound for the final lap.
This strong selection has a lead of 18 seconds over the rest.
Formolo and Valverde take it up as the road kicks uphill once again.
Neri Sottoli lead the chase group, with Roglic tucked in near the front.
The gap rises to 28 seconds as the lead group enters the home straight.
Trek-Segafredo have realised they need to do something about this, with Skujins, Mollema, and Brambilla all missing out on that move. 27 seconds is the gap as they take the bell.
Here are the riders in the front group.
Martin, Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates)
Gaudu, Molard (FDJ)
Sanchez attacks from the lead group on the Montello climb.
The rest of that lead group is caught by the rest of the bunch.
Correction. The rest of that elite group was not quite caught, but riders have attacked from the bunch to get across what was by then a small gap. Mollema and Aranburu (Caja Rural), set off across, and they're joined by Nibali.
17km to go for solo leader Sanchez, who has 20 seconds in hand.
Brambilla has also made it across to the chase group, so good work from Trek.
Wow. This chase group has gone the wrong way!
They all realise the mistake and have to turn around.
Incredible. They're still trying to get back on course. They've been off for a few hundred metres.
Teuns waves his arms in remonstration as he links back up with the course.
Replays show Formolo follows a race motorbike across a roundabout, when he should have turned right off the first exit. There was no one there signalling it.
Sanchez won't be complaining... He suddenly has 42 seconds in hand with 12.5km to go!
Sanchez is climbing again, and this is looking good for the Spaniard, whose lead is hanging firm, with a seeming lack of firepower in the chase.
Jumbo are up towards the front of the bunch but Roglic is losing teammates.
Sanchez is nearly taken out by a police motorbike as he bunny hops some road furniture and nips round just as the moto is trying to overtake a car.
Nibali and co are now 1:15 down on Sanchez, and 45 seconds down on the rest of the bunch.
Moscon and Roglic up towards the front of the chasing bunch, plus an Astana blocker.
Geoghegan Hart takes it up as the road kicks up again, and now Movistar try something again. With Valverde out of the picture, it's over to Carlos Verona at the moment.
Geoghegan Hart takes it up again as they head over the top of that little incline. Fuglsang is on the wheel, waiting in the wings with his teammate up the road.
The gap has come down to 15 seconds with 7.5km to go. Sanchez is running out of gas.
The chase group has thinned markedly over the top of that climb. Just 18 riders in there now, and the increase in urgency means the odds are now stacked against Sanchez.
Sanchez stops pedalling for a moment stretch out his back. 10 seconds now with 6.2km to go.
Ineos are really taking control now. They have Puccio up there with Geoghegan Hart and Moscon.
Into the final 5000m and Sanchez's lead is down to 10 seconds. He's heading downhill at the moment but the last couple of kilometres are uphill.
Sanchez gets into his aero tuck. He's maintaining his lead here on the faster part of the descent but Ineos are still working hard behind.
Just over 3km to go and the road kicks uphill again here. Sanchez is fading now and he's well within sight.
Sanchez looks over his shoulder and grimaces. He knows this is pretty much a lost cause but he presses on regardless.
Puccio leads the chase with Geoghegan hart in the wheel and Moscon further back. Skujins and Fuglsang are still in there.
2.5km to go and Geoghegan Hart takes it up now as Sanchez finds another big acceleration. The gap holds at five seconds.
Into the final 2km for Sanchez. He has a handful of seconds, which will be wiped out if we have big attacks from this 20-man chase group. But when will they come?
Wellens is tucked in behind Ineos. Roglic also present and correct.
Into the final 1500m and still Sanchez has six seconds... He's hanging on very well here.
Sanchez heads under the flamme rouge. 1000m to go. The gradient eases a little and he finds a couple more seconds!
Latour panics and takes it up
It's not a sustained attack, but now Moscon goes!
And that's a big one, and that brings back Sanchez in a flash. Heartbreak for the Spaniard
Fuglsang is on the wheel as Moscon flies past. Now a lull
Roglic attacks now!
The Vuelta champion has a big gap instantly!
Roglic takes it! Wow
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) wins the 2019 Tre Valli Varesine
The rest of the group finishes together three seconds behind, but Roglic pounced at the perfect time to take yet another victory this season. After winning the Vuelta last month, he now has two Italian Classics in the space of four days after winning the Giro dell'Emilia at the weekend.
Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli) took second place from that group behind Roglic, with Skujins taking the final spot on the podium.
And now the riders who went the wrong way cross the finish line, Dan Martin with a wry smile as they do so. Extraordinary scenes - who knows what might have happened otherwise?
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 04:40:46
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia 00:00:03
3 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
4 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
5 Sergio Andres Higuita (Col) EF Education First
6 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Kristian Sbaragli (ita) Israel Cycling Academy
8 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
We can now hear from Roglic...
"Again I’m happy with the finish and that I won. The team did again a great job controlling the race for me from the very beginning. And then in the end I was lucky with the guys who went the wrong way.
"It’s amazing. Like I said in dell’Emilia, I’m just enjoying it. It would be nice to go on holiday but we have Lombardia. We’ll see about that race. I’m relaxed and I’m enjoying things. We’ll see how it goes."
Here's the link to our report page
Roglic now has no fewer than 13 victories for the season, and has to be considered among the very top favourites for Il Lombardia on Saturday.
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