Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) won the Trofeo Andratx on Friday, the second event in the 2016 Challenge Mallorca. The Italian took a well-timed solo victory ahead of a top 10 that featured a host of massive cycling stars.
Former road race world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) finished in second spot to bring the peloton home just two seconds behind Brambilla in the 162.6-kilometre event. Kwiatkowski’s former Etixx-QuickStep team-mate Zdenek Stybar was third.
Within the same group were Classics and Grand Tour stars Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Leopold König (Sky), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep).
Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18) was the top-placed British rider, coming home in a creditable seventh place – one ahead of 2015 WorldTour champion Valverde.
“It’s really incredible to take this victory,” said Brambilla. “It was a long and hard race, considering the peloton was split on the penultimate descent and I had to fight my way back together with Gianni Meersman.
“On the last climb, I was returning to the group alongside Gianni, who told me he wasn’t having his best day and that I should go by myself. I caught the peloton, and on the descent I attacked together with other riders, but no one was willing to pull, so I decided to leave them and do my own race in the final 20 kilometres.”
Twenty-year-old Tao Geoghegan Hart (Great Britain) finished in 16th place in the same group as Thwaites, with his GB team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins finishing outside the time limit. Wiggins made his 2016 road season debut in the previous day’s race.
The Challenge Mallorca continues on Saturday with the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. The event comprises four separate one-day races, but with the highest-placed rider over the four days awarded a trophy.
Many riders use the Challenge Mallorca as an early-season warm-up, incorporating the racing into training on the Spanish island.
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Trofeo Andratx (Challenge Mallorca, day two): Pollenca to Port de Andratx, 162.6km
1. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky at 2 secs
3. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx-QuickStep
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale
6. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
7. Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky
10. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar same time