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Bauke Mollema solos to victory in Trofeo Laigueglia

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) claimed victory at the Trofeo Laigueglia after he soloed clear of an elite group on the Capo Mele with 15km remaining and then maintained his advantage over the stiff ascent to Colla Micheri. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-QuickStep) led the chasing group home at 42 seconds.

Bernal had been among the chief animators of the race on four breathless laps of the finishing circuit on the Ligurian coast, and his fierce acceleration on the penultimate time up Colla Micheri had helped to tee up the day’s decisive move.

The impressive Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën Team) was the only rider who could match Bernal’s tempo on the ascent, but Mollema was part of a determined cadre of chasers who bridged across following the sinuous descent, together with teammate Giulio Ciccone, Vansevenant, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Biniam Girmay (Delko) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ).

As the leaders left the seafront in Andora, Mollema sensed his opportunity and he powered his way clear on the shallow slopes of the Capo Mele. The initial hesitation in the chasing group allowed him to build a lead of 25 seconds by the foot of the final haul up to Colla Micheri, and he kept his gear turning over all the way up its steep slopes.

Behind, Bernal was once again aggressive on the climb but although his initial acceleration stung, he was unable to rid himself of his companions, with Landa, Champoussin, Vansevenant and, eventually, Ciccone, bridging back up to him. By the summit, they had cut Mollema’s advantage to 17 seconds, but the Dutchman’s lead extended thereafter, with Ciccone policing the chasers all the way to the finish.

Mollema made light work of the final drag over the Capo Mele to solo to his second win of the season, following his victory on the opening day of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var. The 2019 Tour of Lombardy winner will line out at Strade Bianche on Saturday, while he is also set to ride the Giro d’Italia alongside Ciccone and Vincenzo Nibali.

“It was a super nice to win here. I felt already really good for the last few weeks. I really wanted to try and start the season in a good way. It’s nice to have two wins already,” said Mollema, whose teammate Mads Pedersen won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne at the weekend.

“We have already five wins now at the beginning of March, in Belgium, in Italy and in France. Hopefully, we can continue like this in the other Italian races coming up.”

How it unfolded

The coronavirus pandemic caused a spate of postponements and cancellations in the opening months of the season, but that has only added to the depth of the field in races along the Riviera in recent weeks. The Trofeo Laigueglia, a staple on the Italian calendar since 1964, boasts a roll of honour that includes Merckx, De Vlaeminck, Saronni and Bartoli, but its status had dropped gradually in the 21st century.

The quality on show in Wednesday’s field reversed that trend, with Bernal, Mollema, Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Michael Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) and Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) among those lining up in Laigueglia. Absent, however, was Italo-Romanian Continental outfit Giotti Victoria-Savini Due, who withdrew at the last minute after an unnamed rider tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the race.

The opening half of the race was animated by a break composed of Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Juri Hollman (Movistar), Mulu Hailemichael (Delko), John Archibald (Eolo Kometa), Vacek (Gazprom Rusvelo), Veljko Stojinic, Alessandro Iacchi (Vini Zabu' Brado KTM), Niccolò Salvietti (MG Kvis Vpm), Davide Persico (Team Colpack Ballan), Nikita Stalnov (Astana-Premier Tech) and Unai Cuadrado (Euskatel-Euskadi), who gained a maximum of almost four minutes on the peloton.

The break disintegrated on the first lap of the finishing circuit, where only Bais and Hollman could track Edet on Colla Micheri, while their advantage also crumbled as first Landa and then Bernal ignited the racing behind.

A peloton of 50 or so riders regrouped after that breathless first lap, but they were whittled down by the forcing of riders like Mollema, Nibali, Diego Rosa (Arkéa-Samsic) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) on the second lap. Edet, Hollman and Bais were caught over the summit of the second climb to Colla Micheri, and around 30 or so riders remained in contention come the penultimate lap.

Eddie Dunbar (Ineos Grenadiers) was the next rider to go on the offensive on the way up Colla Micheri, with James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Champoussin jumping on his wheel. Shortly afterwards, Dunbar’s teammate Bernal bridged across after launching a searing acceleration of his own.

The Colombian continued to test himself all the way to the summit, and Champoussin could follow closely, but Mollema, Landa, Vansevenant, et al, were never out of sight. They latched back on over the other side, and then Mollema – as he did at Il Lombardia in 2019 – picked his moment wisely.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 4:57:05
2Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:39
3Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
4Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
5Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
7James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:57
8Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën Team 0:01:01
9Biniam Girmay (Eri) Delko
10Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
11Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
12Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
13Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
14Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:03
15Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:28
16Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:32
17Gotzon Martin Sanz (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
18Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
19Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
20Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko
21Jose Manuel Diaz Gallego (Spa) Delko
22Daniel Muñoz Giraldo (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
23Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
24Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
25Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
26Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis 0:02:14
27Daniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
28Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
29Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:16
30Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
31Marco Canola (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:02:36
32Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
33Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers 0:04:28
34Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
35Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:04:45
36Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
37Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
38Juri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team 0:05:38
39Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
40Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
41Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:05:56
42Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:05:57
43Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
44Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
45Santiago Umba Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
46Leonardo Tortomasi (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
47Giacomo Garavaglia (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
48Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
49Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
50Davide Rebellin (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
51Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
52Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
53Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) Team Colpack Ballan
54Lorenzo Milesi (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
55Andrea Garosio (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
56Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R Citroën Team
57Paul Wright (NZl) Mg.k Vis VPM
58Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana-Premier Tech
59Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team
60Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
61Abner González Rivera (PuR) Movistar Team
62Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Team Arkea-Samsic
63Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
64Alessandro Verre (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
65Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
66Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko
67Alexandre Delettre (Fra) Delko
68Txomin Juaristi Arrieta (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
69Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
70Jonas Wilsly (Den) Astana-Premier Tech
71Márton Dina (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
72Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
73Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Ineos Grenadiers
74Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
75Filippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:07:03
76Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team 0:07:23
77Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis
78Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:07:47
79Iñigo Elosegui Momeñe (Spa) Movistar Team 0:08:16
80Cristian Scaroni (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:09:27
81Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
82Natnael Berhane (Eri) Cofidis 0:09:34
DNFJacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAmanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo
DNFLilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFNikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFYuriy Natarov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFVadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFDomen Novak (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
DNFSantiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain Victorious
DNFEros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
DNFThomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFPieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFAndrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFIan Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ
DNFClément Davy (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFAlexandre Balmer (Swi) Groupama-FDJ Continental
DNFMichal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFSebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFGianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFSalvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFLoïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFJeremy Bellicaud (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFMaurits Lammertink (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFThéo Delacroix (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFGabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Movistar Team
DNFEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFYakob Debesay (Eri) Delko
DNFKinfe Hailemichael (Eth) Delko
DNFAlejandro Ropero Molina (Spa) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFJohn Archibald (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFMattia Frapporti (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFUnai Cuadrado Ruiz De Gauna (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFAntonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFJulen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFIvan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
DNFAnton Kuzmin (Kaz) Gazprom-RusVelo
DNFMathias Vacek (Cze) Gazprom-RusVelo
DNFBenjamin Declercq (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFDiego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFDavid Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFJoonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFCharles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFAndrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFUmberto Poli (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFBrian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFSam Brand (GBr) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFAndrea Bartolozzi (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFVeljko Stojnic (Srb) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFJoab Schneiter (Swi) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFAlessandro Iacchi (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFDominik Gorak (Pol) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFMatteo Baseggio (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFRiccardo Lucca (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFGianluca Mignolli (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFCristian Rocchetta (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFRiccardo Tosin (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFAbderrahim Zahiri (Mar) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFEmil Dima (Rom) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNFEmanuele Onesti (Ita) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNFAndrea Guardini (Ita) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNFViktor Filutás (Hun) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNFKristian Javier Yustre Rodriguez (Col) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNFPaolo Simion (Ita) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNFNiccolo' Salvietti (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFRaffaele Radice (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFEdoardo Martinelli (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFGuido Draghi (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFNicolo Pencedano (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFFrancesco Carollo (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFThomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFNicolo' Parisini (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFMarco Grendene (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFMatteo Freddi (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFLuca Cretti (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFLorenzo Balestra (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFSergio Meris (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFDavide Persico (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFAlessio Martinelli (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFLuca Rastelli (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFMattia Petrucci (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFRaul Colombo (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
DNFMichael Zecchin (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
DNFStefano Di Benedetto (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
DNFFilippo Dignani (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
DNFChristian Danilo Pase (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
DNSGianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNSEmil Dima (Rom) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNSEmanuele Onesti (Ita) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNSAndrea Guardini (Ita) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNSViktor Filutás (Hun) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNSKristian Javier Yustre Rodriguez (Col) Giotti Victoria Savini Due
DNSPaolo Simion (Ita) Giotti Victoria Savini Due

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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.

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