Battistella wins Veneto Classic

Veneto Classic 2021 podium (LtoR: Marc Hirschi of UAE Team Emirates second, winner Samuele Battistella of Astana-Premier Tech, and third Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia of Androni Giocattoli Sidermec
Veneto Classic 2021 podium (LtoR: Marc Hirschi of UAE Team Emirates second, winner Samuele Battistella of Astana-Premier Tech, and third Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia of Androni Giocattoli Sidermec (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Samuele Battistella (opens in new tab) (Astana-Premier Tech) claimed victory in the inaugural edition of the Veneto Classic one-day rasce in Italy, holding off Marc Hirschi (opens in new tab) (UAE Team Emirates) and Jhonatan Restrepo (Androni-Sidermec) to win by five seconds after a breathless finale in Bassano del Grappa.

A native of nearby Rosssano Veneto, Battistella escaped with a shade under 40km to go in the company of Matteo Trentin (opens in new tab) (UAE Team Emirates), and they built what looked to be a winning lead on the first of three laps of the finishing circuit over the ascent of La Rosina.

The pair had more than half a minute in hand on a disparate group of chasers by the time they tackled La Rosina for the penultimate time, but the race changed in an instant when Trentin touched Battistella’s rear wheel and crashed on the climb, thus ending the impromptu coalition between the two strongest teams on show in the final event of the Ride the Dreamland series.

With a little over 20km to go, Trentin’s teammates Davide Formolo, Diego Ulissi and Hirschi were now minded to organise a chase. Indeed, Trentin himself briefly contributed after remounting, and Battistella’s lead naturally began to contract. 

The former under-23 world champion began to take heart, however, when he crested the summit still with 20 seconds or so in hand on his pursuers.

“I asked the team what to do and Martino [Astana directeur sport Giuseppe Martinelli – ed.] told me to keep going steady and see if somebody came back on,” Battistella explained. 

“Then when I got the top of the climb still alone, I pushed on all the way to the finish.”

Easier said than done, not least because Battistella still had another lap over La Rosina to come, while the Cofidis pair of Guillaume Martin and Remy Rochas were also very active in his pursuit. 

The Italian maintained his tempo on the final time up the area’s most emblematic climb, while the policing presence of his teammate and Serenissima Gravel winner Alexey Lutsenko helped to disturb the chasers’ cohesion.

Martin, Rochas, Restrepo and Hirschi were to the fore on the final time up La Rosina, but the ever-vigilant Lutsenko marked the chase, and when Battistella crested the summit with seven kilometres remaining, he still had 20 seconds in hand.

Just as a local victory seemed assured, however, the Veneto Classic threw up one final twist when the descent to Bassano del Grappa was interrupted by a short but very stiff incline with 3.5km to go. Battistella betrayed his first signs of struggling here and his lead suddenly contracted to just half a dozen seconds as Hirschi piled on the pressure, fragmenting the chasing group once again.

Rochas, Restrepo and the inevitable Lutsenko came with Hirschi, and they were almost within touching distance of Battistella as they began to descend once again. 

A combination of mutual mistrust among the chasers and Battistella’s strength ensured they would come no closer and the Italian youngster held on to claim his first professional victory. 

Hirschi had to settle for second place at six seconds, outsprinting Restrepo and Lutsenko, while Rochas came home fifth at 10 seconds.

“To be honest, I never turned around on the last rise, I just went flat out. I looked back on the descent afterwards, and I could see I still had 50 metres and there wasn’t any agreement between the chasers, so I understood immediately that I could do it,” said Battistella.

“If Trentin had been there, it might have been a bit easier to get to the finish, but then maybe I would have lost in a sprint against him, so perhaps that incident changed my race for the better.”

How it unfolded

The Veneto Classic has designs on entering the WorldTour in the coming seasons, and its organiser already has grand ambitions for the start of the race. In an echo of Vincenzo Torriani and the 1978 Giro d’Italia, Pozzato envisages that his race will eventually set out from Piazza San Marco in the heart of Venice.

For the maiden event, the Veneto Classic had to make do with setting out from the shore of the Venetian Lagoon, amid the golden brown leaves of the Parco San Giuliano. The race was the final event of the Italian season, and there was a decidedly relaxed ambience before the start, which was bathed in pleasant autumn sunshine.

From the moment the flag dropped on the fringes of Mestre the racing was full-throated. Following a brisk opening to proceedings, a group of seven riders managed to extricate itself from the peloton, with Peter Rikunov (Gazprom Rusvelo), Luca Pajek (Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang), Matteo Zurlo (Zalf Euromobil Fior), Lorenzo Visintainer (General Store Essegibi), Federico Burchio (Work Service Marchiol), Simone Bevilacqua (Vini Zabù) and Paolo Toto (Amore&Vita) forging clear after the 25km mark.

Come the day’s first climb at Muro di Ca’ del Poggio after 57km, their lead had yawned out towards three minutes. The terrain became gradually more wearying thereafter, as the race snaked through the tumbling hills of Prosecco country around Valdobbiadene, and the break’s lead began to tumble once they hit La Rosina for the first time with 75km remaining.

The race started to take on a new guise on the first of two ascents of the short but sharp cobbled ascent of La Tisa, where Trentin’s bracing tempo whittled down the bunch and pared the break’s advantage back inside a minute. 

The story repeated itself on the second time up La Tisa soon afterwards, and a reduced peloton, still powered by UAE Team Emirates, caught the break shortly afterwards.

The next phase of the race developed almost immediately, when Trentin, Battistella and Riccardo Verza (Zalf Euromobil Fior) escaped with 40km to go on the first of three local laps around Marostica. 

Guillaume Martin quickly realised the danger of being caught behind representatives from the race’s strongest teams. Once the gradient began to bite on La Rosina, he accelerated from the peloton and set out in pursuit of the leaders, bringing a small group with him, but Battistella and Trentin still had 20 seconds in hand come the summit.

They had almost doubled that advantage by the time they hit the base of La Rosina the next time around, and though Trentin’s crash would alter the tenor of the finale, Battistella survived a tumultuous finale to bring the curtain down on his season with a win.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech 5:01:49
2Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:06
3Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
5Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:10
6Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:27
7Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:29
9Andrea Piccolo (Ita) Italy 0:00:55
10Cristian Scaroni (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
11Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:01:37
12Alberto Dainese (Ita) Italy 0:01:39
13Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
14Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
15Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
16Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
17Andrea Garosio (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
18Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
19Davide Orrico (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
20Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
21Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
22Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
23Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
24Riccardo Tosin (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
25Alex Tolio (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior
26Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
27Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
28Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
29Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
30Antonio Puppio (Ita) Team Qhubeka
31Jonas Rapp (Ger) Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang 0:02:13
32Marco Canola (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo 0:02:31
33Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
34Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
35Marco Tizza (Ita) Amore e Vita 0:05:34
36Davide Botta (Ita) Italy
37Kevin Colleoni (Ita) Italy
38Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
39Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
40Edward Ravasi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:05:53
41Matteo Zurlo (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior 0:07:00
42Davide De Pretto (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
43Riccardo Verza (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior
44Petr Rikunov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
45Kevin Bonaldo (Ita) Team Qhubeka
46Federico Burchio (Ita) IWD
47Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis
48Negasi Haylu Abreha (Eth) Team Qhubeka 0:08:54
49Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis 0:10:04
50Stijn Daemen (Ned) Abloc CT
51Timon Loderer (Ger) Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang
52Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
53Thomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
54Attilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
55Michael Konczer (Aut) Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang
56Matteo Baseggio (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
57Lorenzo Visintainer (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
58Edoardo Faresin (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior
59Samuele Carpene (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
60Hugo Toumire (Fra) Cofidis
61Mattia Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
62Raul Colombo (Ita) IWD
63Ivan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
64Francesco Zandri (Ita) IWD
65Marco Grendene (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
66Alex Raimondi (Ita) Italy
67Luca Mozzato (Ita) Italy
68Rainer Kepplinger (Aut) Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang
69Riccardo Lucca (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
70Davide Bais (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
71Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
72Mattia Guasco (Ita) Team Qhubeka
73Giacomo Garavaglia (Ita) IWD
74Leonardo Marchiori (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
75Jefferson Cepeda Ortiz (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
76Francesco Di Felice (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
77Erik Fetter (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
78Francesco Carollo (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
79Luka Pajek (Slo) Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang 0:10:27
DNSFabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNSFilippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFKevin Pezzo Rosola (Ita) Italy
DNFFilippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFFabio Di Guglielmo (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFEdoardo Martinelli (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFJacopo Cortese (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFNiccolo' Salvietti (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFAndrea Ghislanzoni (Ita) Mg.k Vis VPM
DNFDavide Appollonio (Ita) Amore e Vita
DNFMattia Benedetti (Ita) Amore e Vita
DNFPaolo Totò (Ita) Amore e Vita
DNFVladislav Zubar (Ukr) Amore e Vita
DNFRodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFDavide Martinelli (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFEnrico Zanoncello (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFLorenzo Milesi (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFLuca Cretti (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFGiosue' Crescioli (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFMatteo Freddi (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
DNFFernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis
DNFSamuele Rivi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFPavel Kochetkov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
DNFDamiano Cima (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
DNFEttore Pozza (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFJacopo Menegotto (Ita) General Store-f.lli Curia-Essegibi
DNFStefan Kolb (Aut) Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang
DNFMarvin Hammerschmid (Aut) Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang
DNFTaco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFLuca Coati (Ita) Team Qhubeka
DNFKarel Vacek (Cze) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFAleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
DNFJan Petelin (Lux) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFSimone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFRiccardo Stacchiotti (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFGiovanni Bortoluzzi (Ita) Work Service-Marchiol-Dynatek
DNFStefano Di Benedetto (Ita) IWD
DNFChristian Danilo Pase (Ita) IWD
DNFAlessio Acco (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior
DNFGiulio Masotto (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior
DNFManlio Moro (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features 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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