Colombian José Serpa of Lampre-Merida became the first from his country to win the Italian one-day classic, Trofeo Laigueglia. He fooled German Patrick Sinkewitz (Meridiana-Kamen) and after 181.2 kilometres, won the two-up sprint on the Italian Ligurian coast.
“Sinkewitz was the strongest on the climbs but [Matteo] Rabottini and I were able to struggle and hold on,” Serpa told Italian website Tutto Bici. “I was struggling but stayed in his slipstream. I was even dropped at two kilometres out, but luckily Sinkewitz didn’t notice and even lowered the pace. I was able to get on and not even work because I had [Diego] Ulissi behind who could win. The sprint was easy, Sinkewitz was very tired.”
Matteo Rabottini (Yellow Fluo-Neri Sottoli) lost contact before the Cima Paravenna climb 31.3 kilometres to race. From Alaassio to Laigueglia along the Via Aurelia, the same road that Milan-San Remo will travel next month, the front duo built an advantage. With eight kilometres to race, after the final little rise, the Capo Santa Croce, they held a 45-second advantage. Serpa just had to hang on.
An early escape of four riders dominated the first kilometres. The group, partly led by team Yellow Fluo, pulled them back by 50 kilometres to race and ahead of the Cima Paravenna, where the trio attacked.
Serpa, 34, raced for Gianni Savio’s Androni team through 2012. He won the 2012 and 2009 Tour of Langkawi, where he returns to race next week in Lampre’s blue and pink colours. Sinkewitz, who rode for T-Mobile and served a ban for the Operación Puerto investigation, is better known for his doping confession.
Likely not pleased with Serpa winning way, Sinkewitz gave a thumbs down on the podium. However, Serpa became the race’s first Colombian winner in its 51 years. It celebrated Belgians (Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens, Sammie Moreels, Johan Museeuw, Frank Vandenbroucke), Americans (Ron Kiefel, Lance Armstrong), a Dane (Rolf Sørensen), a Norwegian (Knut Knudsen), a Swiss (Gilbert Glaus), a Frenchman (Pascal Chanteur), a Luxembourger (Kim Kirchen), a Russian (Mikhail Ignatiev) and now, a Colombian.
Trofeo Laigueglia 2014, 181.2km
1. Jose Serpa (Col) Lampre-Merida in 4-42-43
2. Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Meridiana Kamen at same time
3. Andrea Paqualon (Ita) Area Zero Pro Team at 12 secs
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
7. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale
8. Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale
9. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Yellow Fluo
10. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at same time
German rider Patrik Sinkewitz provisionally suspended by UCI for failing test for recombinant human growth hormone