By Ryan Dabbs
Michael Valgren (EF Education-Nippo) has made it two wins in two races after winning the 69th edition of the Coppa Sabatini , a day after winning the Giro della Toscana.
The Coppa Sabatini race took place around the Tuscan town of Peccioli, across a 211 kilometre route that included plenty of short and steep ascents. Valgren secured his eighth career win around the route, with Sonny Solbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) and Mathieu Burgandeau (Team TotalEnergies) joining him on the podium.
Valgren has previously been tipped as a major Classics contender, having won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold Race in 2018, then finishing sixth in the World Championships road race in Yorkshire in 2019.
But the 29-year-old has suffered through a winning drought in the last few seasons, his last victory being Amstel Gold Race in April 2018, before he took glory in Italy this week.
The Dane commended the efforts of his team immediately after the race for helping him to secure two consecutive victories.
"I had really good help from my team," said Valgren, "and Neilson Powless [also EF Education-Nippo] was really strong so I could just sit in the wheels in the headwind.
"I knew I was strong so I thought we’d make it as hard as possible on the climb and see how it goes. Luckily I made it to the line. My whole team were amazing. All weekend we rode fantastically, so big thanks to the whole team.
"This was a nice way to win against Colbrelli, who is a big favourite for the World Championships, to beat him in an uphill sprint, which is his favourite thing more or less. So it was a really nice win for me to beat Sonny on this journey, so I’m super happy."
Valgren now has his sights set on the World Championships, where he's confident of picking up a medal with his Denmark team.
"It will be a big dream. I’ll go there with a very strong team, so hopefully we can take a gold medal home for Denmark."
Valgren's second win came about in very convincing fashion, beating Colbrelli to the line in a two-man sprint.
Initially, with 33 kilometres left in the race, Valgren was part of an eight-man breakaway group that included Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) and team-mate Neilson Powless (EF Education–Nippo). The group managed to build a considerable gap, and, at 25 kilometres to go, their advantage over the peloton was one and a half minutes.
This group managed to maintain their lead for the rest of the race, until the final few kilometres where riders mounted challenges for the line. While they were caught, it was Valgren's attack that stuck. With just 0.7km left the Dane pushed for the line, and only Sonny Colbrelli followed as the pair finished first and second.
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