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Jan Polanc wins Trofeo Laigueglia with late attack

Jan Polanc snatched victory for UAE Team Emirates at the Trofeo Laigueglia, catching the leading trio that included teammates Alessandro Covi and Juan Ayuso in the final kilometre and then jumping away to win alone.

Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) looked the strongest in the front trio but as they eased, Polanc got back on with Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers). When he kicked, Rota didn’t move and Rodriguez looked tired, surrendering victory.

In the sprint to the line Ayuso and Covi completed a UAE Team Emirates podium, with Rota finishing fourth.

"I felt good during the race. We knew that Covi was the fastest and so we worked for him. But I wanted to do all I could for the team with two laps to go, so I attacked," Polanc said after the finish.

"That's why I suffered on the final lap and was dropped but I didn't give up. I saw they'd eased up, so I thought I'd go for it and attack them. It worked out."

UAE Team Emirates set-up their dominance on the descent to the finishing circuits with 50km to go, placing six riders in the split of just 22.

"We knew the long descent to the start of the finishing circuits was dangerous so we went for it and rode on the front. We saw we'd got a gap and so we worked with Intermarché to make sure we stayed away.

"This win is for my family. I'm a domestique and so don't win very often. But when I do, it's emotional and so something to celebrate."

How it unfolded

The opening race of the 2022 Italian season is a hard test of climbing and descending skills on the Liguarian coast, with Laigueglia only 50km from San Remo. The Capo Mele climb, one of the first in Milan-San Remo, is the final obstacle of the 202km race.

The first race route rides east along the coast and then into the steep Ligurian valleys over the Cima Paravernna and Testico before returning to Laigueglia for four 10.8km circuits of the Colla Micheri headland. The final climb is short but steep, with the descent equally testing. Poor descenders are advised to avoid the Trofeo Laigueglia.

This year's race was held in the sun, with 165 riders starting the race but with Gazprom-Rusvelo pulled at the last minute due to the UCI ban on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

The early break dominated the racing until 60km to go and the long descent to Laigueglia for the finishing circuits.

A group of over 22 riders went off the front on the nerve-wracking descent with Trek-Segafredo surprisingly missing the move. However, UAE Team Emirates, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Ineos Grenadiers were there in numbers and decided to take on the race as Trek-Segafredo tried to mount a chase to get Giulio Ciccone back in the race.

Up front were Davide Formolo, Ivo Oliveira, Jan Polanc, Alessandro Covi, Joel Suter, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), Jan Bakelants, Théo Delacroix, Simone Petilli, Lorenzo Rota, Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Eddie Dunbar, Carlos Rodriguez, Salvatore Puccio, Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers), Samuele Battistella, Fabio Felline, Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan), David Gaudu, Matthieu Ladagnous (Groupama-FDJ), and Lukasz Owsian (Arkéa-Samsic).

Some were dropped after driving the break to the finish area and the foot of the Colla Micheri climb and others were shaken out on each lap of the climb and descent.

UAE Team Emirates rightly went on the attack on each climb and always had a numerical advantage as the kilometre ticked down, with a crash on the descent taking out Gaudu, Dunbar, Battistella and Formolo.

Ciccone tried a solo chase from the peloton with two laps and 20km to race but quickly faded, with the attackers still a minute up the road. The front group split on the penultimate descent, with Porte struggling on the descent in a battle of nerves and numerical supremacy for UAE Team, Emirates.

Polanc attacked early on the last climb but was carefully pulled back by Rota who looked the strongest. However, he was outnumbered, even when he got away with Ayuso and Covi on the final descent, he had to ride along the coast to the finish to stop Polanc and Rodriguez getting back on.

Ayuso and Covi seemed unsure of how to ride against faster finisher Rota over the Capo Mele for the last time and risked an embarrassing defeat. Fortunately, Rodriguez dragged never-say-die Polanc back up to them and then the Slovenian used his last drops of energy to make a late solo attack just as the leading trio were caught.

Rota did not react and so lost any chance of victory, setting up UAE Team Emirates for their 1-2-3 finish.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 5:02:25
2Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:02
3Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:08
6Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:24
7Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:32
8Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
11Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
12Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:34
13Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
14Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:01:13
15Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroen Team 0:01:16
16Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Arkea-Samsic 0:01:18
17Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Cofidis 0:01:30
18Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic 0:01:35
19Paul Lapeira (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
20Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
21Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
22Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
23Thomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
24Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
25Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
26Michael Storer (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
27Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:38
28Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:02:08
29Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis 0:02:11
30Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
31Daniel Oss (Ita) TotalEnergies
32Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
33Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
34Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
35Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
36Alessandro Verre (Ita) Arkea-Samsic
37Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ Continental
38Davide Bais (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:03:34
39Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroen Team 0:03:53
40Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
41Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli 0:03:57
42Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek 0:05:28
43Raul Colombo (Ita) Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek
44Andrea Garosio (Ita) Biesse-Carrera
45Davide Cimolai (Ita) Cofidis
46Mattia Bais (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
47Mattia Guasco (Ita) Team Qhubeka
48Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis
49Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
50Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
51Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
52Omar El Gouzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
53Ivan Moreno Sanchez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
54Marco Murgano (Ita) Team Corratec
55Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
56Juan Diego Alba Bolivar (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
57Winner Anacona (Col) Arkea-Samsic
58Urko Berrade Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
59Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:26
60Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:07:22
61Mattia Petrucci (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan 0:07:23
62Gil Gelders (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB Development Team 0:08:24
63Leander Van Hautegem (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB Development Team 0:08:26
64Simon Pellaud (Swi) Trek-Segafredo 0:08:49
65Filippo Conca (Ita) Lotto Soudal
66Samuele Rivi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
67Anders Foldager (Den) Biesse-Carrera
68Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroen Team
69Marti Marquez Roman (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
70Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
71Samuele Carpene (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
72Riccardo Lucca (Ita) Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek
73Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
74Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco
75Samuele Zambelli (Ita) Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek
76Kevin Bonaldo (Ita) Team Qhubeka
77Luca Cibrario (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
78Diego Pablo Sevilla Lopez (Spa) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
79Francesco Carollo (Ita) MG.K Vis Colors for Peace VPM
DNFGianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFJacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFClément Berthet (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFSamuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFGianni Moscon (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFAleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFAxel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis
DNFDavide Villella (Ita) Cofidis
DNFDavid Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFLaurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFEddie Dunbar (Irl) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFOmar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFThéo Delacroix (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFQuinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFLaurens Huys (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFDavide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFJoel Suter (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFAlex Tolio (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFAlessio Martinelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFAlessio Nieri (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFThibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFMiguel Heidemann (Ger) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFLouis Blouwe (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFRemy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFMarco Tizza (Ita) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFMathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFJefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Drone Hopper - Androni Giocattoli
DNFDidier Norberto Merchan Cardona (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
DNFDiego Rosa (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFMirco Maestri (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFSergio Araiz Michel (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
DNFFrancisco Galvan Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
DNFIvan Cobo Cayon (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
DNFElie Gesbert (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
DNFDayer Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
DNFMichele Scartezzini (Ita) Italy
DNFNiccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies
DNFJuri Zanotti (Ita) Italy
DNFNadir Colledani (Ita) Italy
DNFAndrea Piras (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFMatteo Freddi (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFPietro Aimonetto (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFAndrea Biancalani (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFMattia Gardi (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFGiacomo Villa (Ita) Biesse-Carrera
DNFMichael Belleri (Ita) Biesse-Carrera
DNFRiccardo Ciuccarelli (Ita) Biesse-Carrera
DNFMattias Nordal (Den) Biesse-Carrera
DNFLorenzo Roda (Ita) Biesse-Carrera
DNFMarco Palomba (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFEttore Pozza (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFFrancesco Busatto (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFRiccardo Tosin (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFFilippo D'Aiuto (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFCarlo Francesco Favretto (Ita) General Store-Essegibi-f.lli Curia
DNFPaul Double (GBr) MG.K Vis Colors for Peace VPM
DNFJacopo Cortese (Ita) MG.K Vis Colors for Peace VPM
DNFGuido Draghi (Ita) MG.K Vis Colors for Peace VPM
DNFDaan Hoeks (Ned) MG.K Vis Colors for Peace VPM
DNFMaximilian Stedman (GBr) MG.K Vis Colors for Peace VPM
DNFSimone Piccolo (Ita) MG.K Vis Colors for Peace VPM
DNFLorenzo Balestra (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFAlessandro Baroni (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFEgidio Karim Raviele (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFSergio Meris (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFMatteo Ambrosini (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFGidas Umbri (Ita) Team Colpack Ballan
DNFSimone Olivero (Ita) Team Corratec
DNFMatteo Amella (Ita) Team Corratec
DNFDavide Baldaccini (Ita) Team Corratec
DNFStefano Gandin (Ita) Team Corratec
DNFLorenzo Iacchi (Ita) Team Corratec
DNFJan Stöckli (Swi) Team Corratec
DNFNegasi Haylu Abreha (Eth) Team Qhubeka
DNFGhebrehiwet Birhane (Eri) Team Qhubeka
DNFAlessandro Iacchi (Ita) Team Qhubeka
DNFNicolo' Parisini (Ita) Team Qhubeka
DNFFrancesco Zandri (Ita) Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek
DNFLorenzo Ginestra (Ita) Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek
DNFFederico Burchio (Ita) Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek
DNSSergei Chernetskii (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNSNikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNSGiovanni Carboni (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNSNicola Conci (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNSMichael Kukrle (Cze) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNSAlessandro Fedeli (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNSMathias Vacek (Cze) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNSJacopo Menegotto (Ita) Team Qhubeka

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.

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