Colbrelli wins European road title

Sonny Colbrelli (Italy) won the men's road race at the European Championships in front of a home crowd, prevailing in a two-up sprint against Remco Evenepoel (Belgium).

Though the pre-race favourite lived up to his billing, it was anything but a predictable race. A ferocious start saw multiple breakaways form and re-form before a nine-man group escaped 60km from the finish. Evenepoel attacked this group on the penultimate ascent of the Povo with an acceleration so fierce that only Colbrelli and Benoît Cosnefroy (France) could follow.

Another surge from the Belgian distanced Cosnefroy on the final ascent of this climb, but despite Evenepoel's best efforts, he could not shake Colbrelli, and in the final sprint Colbrelli was victorious. Cosnefroy crossed the line 1:30 later to take the bronze medal.

"It's fantastic because I had a super team and in the final [Matteo] Trentin was super," Colbrelli said at the finish, "I followed Remco in the final climb. I'm very happy for this victory - it is double because it was achieved in Italy."

How it unfolded

The road began to rise as soon as the race left the neutral roll out and, on these slopes, the breakaway struggled to form.  A quartet comprised of Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spain), Aurélien Paret-Peintre (France), Franck Bonnamour (France), Harm Vanhoucke  (Belgium) eventually escaped. They seemed reluctant to fully commit, and though their languid pace was initially matched by the Italian-led peloton, their advantage never exceeded a minute and a half.

On the next climb, the Vigo Cavedine, the small time gap tempted attacks from the peloton as multiple riders sought to join the breakaway. A strong group containing Thibaut Pinot (France), four Spanish riders: Roger Adria, David de la Cruz, Gorka Izaguirre and Mikel Landa, Felix Großschartner (Austria), Sébastien Reichenbach (Switzerland), and Jonas Rapp (Germany) bridged across. The Italians, sensing the danger posed by this increasingly powerful group, sent Andrea Bagioli to foil its endeavours and, once again, the breakaway's advantage never exceeded a minute and a half.

Twenty kilometres later, on the ascent and descent of the Candriai, the race exploded. First, the breakaway disintegrated as Landa and Bonnamour were both dropped. Then, Romain Bardet (France), Remco Evenepoel (Belgium), Gianni Moscon (Italy) and Pavel Sivakov (Russia) launched a short-lived, speculative attack from the peloton, still 116km from the finish. The corresponding acceleration doomed the breakaway's efforts and it was a fragmented race that entered the finishing circuit.

Two large groups crossed the finish line for the first time, but on the Povo climb the race regrouped and, as the pace momentarily dropped, another fleeting breakaway formed. Diego Ulissi (Italy) caught this quartet with acceleration, but the group was soon caught by the peloton. With 85km still to race, only 48 riders remained while there had been four separate breakaways, all reabsorbed back into the peloton.

In the end, it took an échappée royale composed of Mark Padun (Ukraine), Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia), Matteo Trentin (Italy), Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) and Markus Hoelgaard (Norway) to escape the peloton and they built up an advantage of 36 seconds with 68km to go. Spooked by this move, France took control of the peloton, burning through riders alarmingly fast in their desperation to close the gap. Their pace distanced the majority of the peloton and the few who survived bridged up to the breakaway.

As Campenaerts and Padun were dropped in this mêlée, a nine-man group formed out front composed of Trentin, Colbrelli, Hoelgaard, Sivakov, Pogačar, Cosnefroy, Evenepoel, Ben Hermans (Belgium) and Marc Hirschi (Switzerland).

Wary of those in this group possessing a stronger sprint than him, Evenepoel attacked on the penultimate ascent of the Povo, 22km from the finish. His acceleration was partially successful, distancing three-quarters of his rivals, but two of the fastest finishers in Colbrelli and Cosnefroy were able to follow. Largely driven by Evenepoel, this group amassed a minute's lead and, by the last lap, it was clear that they would be fighting for victory.

Cosnefroy too was dropped on the next and final ascent of the Povo but Colbrelli clung on, and, in front of a gleeful, Italian crowd some numbers deep at the finish, he won the sprint to take a memorable victory.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sonny Colbrelli (Italy) 4:19:45
2Remco Evenepoel (Belgium)
3Benoit Cosnefroy (France) 0:01:30
4Matteo Trentin (Italy) 0:01:44
5Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia)
6Marc Hirschi (Switzerland)
7Markus Hoelgaard (Norway)
8Ben Hermans (Belgium) 0:01:46
9Pavel Sivakov (Russian Federation) 0:01:49
10Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) 0:05:41
11Stan Dewulf (Belgium) 0:05:49
12Romain Bardet (France)
13Matej Mohoric (Slovenia) 0:05:50
14João Almeida (Portugal) 0:06:00
15Diego Ulissi (Italy)
16Simon Geschke (Germany)
17Bauke Mollema (Netherlands) 0:06:15
18Rui Costa (Portugal) 0:09:13
19Koen Bouwman (Netherlands)
20Michael Kukrle (Czech Republic)
21Dmitrii Strakhov (Russian Federation)
22Felix Grossschartner (Austria)
23Odd Christian Eiking (Norway)
24Matteo Badilatti (Switzerland)
25Warren Barguil (France)
26Sergei Chernetskii (Russian Federation)
27Sébastien Reichenbach (Switzerland)
28Nelson Oliveira (Portugal)
29Roger Adria Oliveras (Spain) 0:09:16
30Gianni Moscon (Italy) 0:09:21
31Harm Vanhoucke (Belgium)
DNFPhilippe Gilbert (Belgium)
DNFDylan Teuns (Belgium)
DNFGianni Vermeersch (Belgium)
DNFFranck Bonnamour (France)
DNFValentin Madouas (France)
DNFAurélien Paret Peintre (France)
DNFPierre-Luc Périchon (France)
DNFThibaut Pinot (France)
DNFZiga Jerman (Slovenia)
DNFDomen Novak (Slovenia)
DNFDavid Per (Slovenia)
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Netherlands)
DNFTimo Roosen (Netherlands)
DNFIde Schelling (Netherlands)
DNFJulius van den Berg (Netherlands)
DNFNick van der Lijke (Netherlands)
DNFGiovanni Aleotti (Italy)
DNFAndrea Bagioli (Italy)
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Italy)
DNFFilippo Ganna (Italy)
DNFDavid de la Cruz (Spain)
DNFImanol Erviti (Spain)
DNFIvan Garcia Cortina (Spain)
DNFGorka Izagirre Insausti (Spain)
DNFIon Izagirre Insausti (Spain)
DNFMikel Landa Meana (Spain)
DNFAntonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spain)
DNFMiguel Heidemann (Germany)
DNFFlorian Lipowitz (Germany)
DNFJonas Rapp (Germany)
DNFJonas Rutsch (Germany)
DNFImmanuel Stark (Germany)
DNFJannik Steimle (Germany)
DNFGeorg Steinhauser (Germany)
DNFFabian Lienhard (Switzerland)
DNFGino Mäder (Switzerland)
DNFSimon Pellaud (Switzerland)
DNFRoland Thalmann (Switzerland)
DNFYannis Voisard (Switzerland)
DNFRuben Guerreiro (Portugal)
DNFRui Oliveira (Portugal)
DNFRafael Reis (Portugal)
DNFPavel Kochetkov (Russian Federation)
DNFRoman Maikin (Russian Federation)
DNFDenis Nekrasov (Russian Federation)
DNFArtem Nych (Russian Federation)
DNFKristian Aasvold (Norway)
DNFSven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
DNFAlexander Kristoff (Norway)
DNFAndreas Leknessund (Norway)
DNFSam Bennett (Ireland)
DNFConn McDunphy (Ireland)
DNFRyan Mullen (Ireland)
DNFMatthew Teggart (Ireland)
DNFMarcin Budzinski (Poland)
DNFMichal Golas (Poland)
DNFJakub Kaczmarek (Poland)
DNFPrzemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Poland)
DNFMaciej Paterski (Poland)
DNFSzymon Tracz (Poland)
DNFFelix Gall (Austria)
DNFMarco Haller (Austria)
DNFHermann Pernsteiner (Austria)
DNFSebastian Schönberger (Austria)
DNFJan Bárta (Czech Republic)
DNFZdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)
DNFAdam Toupalík (Czech Republic)
DNFDaniel Turek (Czech Republic)
DNFJuraj Bellan (Slovakia)
DNFMarek Canecky (Slovakia)
DNFMartin Haring (Slovakia)
DNFJuraj Sagan (Slovakia)
DNFPeter Sagan (Slovakia)
DNFPatrik Tybor (Slovakia)
DNFGert Kivistik (Estonia)
DNFKarl Patrick Lauk (Estonia)
DNFMihkel Räim (Estonia)
DNFRein Taaramäe (Estonia)
DNFNorman Vahtra (Estonia)
DNFAnatolii Budiak (Ukraine)
DNFVitaliy Buts (Ukraine)
DNFOleksandr Holovash (Ukraine)
DNFMykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine)
DNFAndrii Kulyk (Ukraine)
DNFMark Padun (Ukraine)
DNFKévin Geniets (Luxembourg)
DNFMichel Ries (Luxembourg)
DNFLuc Wirtgen (Luxembourg)
DNFJan Petelin (Luxembourg)
DNFAleksandr Riabushenko (Belarus)
DNFEmil Dima (Romania)
DNFEdgaras Kovaliovas (Lithuania)
DNFVenantas Lašinis (Lithuania)
DNFEvaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania)
DNFViktor Filutás (Hungary)
DNFBarnabás Peák (Hungary)
DNFJános Zsombor Pelikán (Hungary)
DNFAttila Valter (Hungary)
DNFLucas Eriksson (Sweden)
DNFKim Magnusson (Sweden)
DNFGeorgios Boutopoulos (Greece)
DNFMarolino Hoxha (Albania)
DNFMejdin Malhani (Albania)
DNFYlber Sefa (Albania)
DNFOlsian Velia (Albania)
DNFUkko Peltonen (Finland)
DNFOmer Goldstein (Israel)
DNFGuy Sagiv (Israel)
DNFJosip Rumac (Croatia)
DNFSpas Gyurov (Bulgaria)
DNFHafsteinn Geirsson (Iceland)
DNFIngvar Omarsson (Iceland)
DNFCristian Raileanu (Moldova)
DNFAndrej Petrovski (North Macedonia)
DNFAndreas Miltiadis (Cyprus)
DNFAntoine Berlin (Monaco)
DNFVictor Langellotti (Monaco)
DNFMusa Mikayilzade (Azerbaijan)
DNSJan Maas (Netherlands)

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