Bala attacks with 55k remaining through first passage of Massino Visconti climb, gets reeled in with eight from Stresa's finish, where Fran finishes in 3rd -ahead of Lobato- as Ponzi (NRI) succeeds
Showing commitment in every single race he takes part, Alejandro Valverde has extended its impressive streak of performances in 2014 with an exciting fight against the whole bunch in the 17th GP Nobili (190km), ridden on Thursday around the Lago Maggiore in Piemonte. After the two opening hours of racing were covered at an exhilarating pace of more than 50kph, and following a short, five-man break reaching the first ascent towards Massino Visconti with one minute’s gap, the Spaniard jumped away solo, more than fifty kilometers from the end.
Overtaking all escapees one by one, then staying with Brutt (KAT), Rubiano (COL) and Parrinello (AND), the Murcian superstar took responsibility in the new break to reach the second passage with almost half-a-minute’s advantage. Valverde attacked again to stay at front, the bunch regrouping from a 20-rider selection -including Andrey Amador- up to eighty members including all sprinters. Valverde sat up as soon as the chase organised itself, getting caught with 10km from the finish.
The Movistar Team still did not stop chasing for glory, and set some of its riders at the front to favour the chances by Fran Ventoso and Juanjo Lobato. The Blue pair couldn’t yet beat two locals: Simone Ponzi (NRI) and Christian Delle Stelle (IDE), first and second over the line in Stresa ahead of the Cantabrian (3rd), again close to breaking a misfortune line that lasts already more than a year and a half. Juanjo finished in 4th spot.
REACTION / Fran Ventoso: “It was a strange sprint, launched from so far that I might haven’t been able to take victory because of that. It’s awful, because I felt so in debt with my team-mates, and especially Alejandro, for all work and confidence they put into myself. You just have to see how Valverde reacted when the peloton reeled him in: he did not drop, but rather work hard to keep a fast pace and help us two Lobato and me. He’s a true champion, and proved it again today.”