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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Friday, September 19, 2014

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Michael Albasini wins Tre Valli Varesine

Understandably Albisini's team is happy. Here's the Orica-GreenEdge release:

Multiple 2014 Tour of Romandie stage winner Michael Albasini has continued Orica-GreenEdge’s winning streak, taking out the Tre Valli Varesine in Italy this afternoon. Albasini becomes just the tenth international winner of the one-day race, dominated over the 94 editions by Italian victories.

The win follows a trio of triumphs in Canada for Orica-GreenEdge, the first at the Tour of Alberta with Daryl Impey and then the Quebec and Montreal double by Simon Gerrans. The victories late in the season continue to show good form as riders fine tune for the world championships starting next weekend in Spain.

Adding to that, the Tre Valli Varesine is raced just a few kilometres from the team’s Italian headquarters, just outside the city of Varese.

“I’m super happy to win one of these important and well-respected Italian one-day races – and on top of that, the closest one to our base,” Albasini said. “The team rode perfectly all day and I’m happy to get a big morale boost leading into the worlds. It was a very tough race with proper bad weather at the end but we stuck to our plan and that worked out really well.”

Early break attempts were shut down by Orica-GreenEdge before they joined subsequent efforts to remove the pressure of the chase. “We did a bit of work early on to pull back the first, big break-away group,” Albasini explained. “Then we had Christian Meier perfectly placed in the counter attack that went when they got caught. That meant the rest of us could save our legs a little for the final.

“It came down to a big attack by (Enrico) Gasparotto (Astana) on the last climb. That split the group completely and I managed to get into an 11-man break that it created.”

In the break on the final lap and confident of proceedings, Albasini timed his sprint to perfection, passing Sonny Colbrelli (BAR) in the final metres to claim the top step of the dais. “I knew this was the winning break as no one was pulling properly behind us and I tried to keep calm as my eyes were on the sprint,” Albasini said. “(Filippo) Pozzato (Lampre) was in the group too and I mainly focused on him coming into the last kilometres. There were a few crashes coming into the last stretch and I was worried about opening to the sprint too early. Two riders went with 300 metres to go and I managed to close the gap and open my sprint very late.

“The road was so wet that I was even too scared to raise my arms as I crossed the line first!”

Michael Albasini

Michael Albasini enjoys the fruits of his victory. Photo ©Sirotti

Here's the Lampre-Merida view of Tre Valli Varesine:

Tre Valli Varesine, the final act of the Trittico Lombardo, gave Filippo Pozzato the third position, just behind Albasini (1st) and .

The race started in Luino and finished in Varese after 199.9 km, the last 80 km were covered on a circuit that was similar to the one of the 2008 world championship. After some attempts, 6 riders were able to escape from the bunch, but their advantage was limited under 3 minutes, so their action was easily neutralized.

At 70 km to go, a new breakaway allowed 7 cyclists to lead the race for 45 km, when the bunch reacted.

The key attack was performed by 11 athletes at 25 km to the arrival and Durasek and Pozzato were members of this action that could reach the arrival. In the sprint, Pozzato did not succeed in catching Albasini and Colbrelli who had anticipated their move.

"I'm satisfied for the performance of the team, our riders moved in a perfect way and we succeeded in having the two best riders in the key action that characterized the final kilometers - sport director Righi explained - Durasek was great in supporting Filippo in view of the sprint, but Albasini demonstrated that he was the strongest. In the Trittico Lombardo we were on all the three places of the podium, so I can afirm that these days have been good for Lampre-Merida".

Tre Valli Sprint

Michael Albasini beats Sonny Colbrelli while Filippo Pozzato comes in third at the Tre Valli Varesine. Photo ©Bettini

Ben Swift Extends with Team Sky

Ben Swift has ridden for Team Sky since the team began in 2010. The 26-year old Brit has come to an agreement to ride for Sky for two more years. This year Swift won the points classification of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi-Bartali and stage five of the Tour of the Basque Country. He was also third at this year's Milano-San Remo.

Milano-San Remo podium

Ben Swift (right) on the 2014 Milano-San Remo podium with Fabian Cancellara (left) and winner Alexander Kristoff. Photo ©Sirotti

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