By Nigel Wynn
Sonny Colbrelli (Bardinai-CSF) out-paced the field to win the 2016 Tre Valli Varesine in Italy on Tuesday.
Colbrelli claimed the victory in the 96th edition of the UCI 1.HC-ranked race ahead of fellow Italians Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli).
The trio placed ahead of the likes of Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Fabio Aru (Astana), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Elia Viviani (Italy), Michael Albasini (Orica-BikeExchange) and Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff), who were all among the 27-team start list.
Colbrelli may well join the WorldTour for 2017 as he has been signed by the Bahrain-Merida team, which has applied for a WorldTour licence next season.
The first escape group to establish itself during the 192.9km race consisted of Igor Boev (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Zak Dempster (Bora-Argon18) and Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Fantini). This original break was caught with 50km and four of nine laps of the 12.8km circuit to go.
The catch signalled a quickening of the pace and spawned several more attacks settling on a nine-rider group going clear inside 40km. Giant-Alpecin were not represented in the escape, and led the pace-making of the peloton to bring the race back together.
There were several attacks as the race hit the final ascent of the Montello climb, including from Fabio Aru (Astana) but all were neutralised. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) tried his luck with an attack in the final kilometre, but he too was reeled in as the leading group contested the finish in Varese.
There was an incident during the race where a support motorcycle hit the front of a car that appeared to be pointing in the opposite direction to the riders. The motorcycle pilot was attended to by medics and the organiser later reported that they had suffered a fractured pelvis.
On Wednesday, many of the riders taking part in Tre Valli Varesine will line up for Milano-Torino in a busy week of Italian one-day races which culminates in the final WorldTour race of the 2016 season, Il Lombardia on Saturday.
Tre Valli Varesine 2016, 192.9km
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4-48-18
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-BikeExchange
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Italy National Team
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data all same time
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