|Marini does it again (Photo: Italiaciclismo.net)|
Is anyone going to be able to stop Nicolas Marini this year? I ask because his winning streak is starting to become comical. Marini was able to gain his 5th straight victory at Tuesday's GP Possenta in Ceresara in Southern Lombardia; continuing his staggering run that seemingly has no end in sight.
Tuesday was the 63rd edition of the Gran Premio Possenta, which features a 4.1 kilometer circuit that is done 25 times and is meant to be a showcase for sprinters as past winners include Niccoló Bonifazio, Giacomo Nizzolo and Jacopo Guarnieri. The start list was huge and included 200 riders from 26 teams but after just 3 laps, the race had been more or less decided. Zalf-Euromobil, who has been nothing short of perfect this year, put 9 riders into an attack of 20 riders including Nicolas Marini as well as his arch rival Jakub Mareczko of Viris-Maserati. The advantage swelled to a gap of nearly 2 minutes and while Andrei Voicu's Pala Fenice team was desperately chasing, the move was gone.
With Zalf having huge numbers in the breakaway, they were able to play some chess on bikes. They started to put in some digs to get some separation between Marini and Mareczko and they were able to do just that when 2 of their riders sat up during a particularly windy stretch and left Mareczko out in the wind to fend for himself, where he would ultimately be dropped. Heading into the finish, Marini was lead out flawlessly by Daniele Cavesin and he hit the turbos when he was dropped off, winning comfortably by at least four bike lengths over Michael Bresciana of General Store.
How far could Marini go this year? That remains to be seen. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes over 20 wins this year seeing as he won 9 races last year and he wasn't even the best sprinter on his team. Remember in the first race of the year, the Coppa San Geo, Marini won the field sprint just behind a breakaway of two and he was visibly upset; banging his handlebars and his wheel onto the road in frustration at his 3rd place. Since then, he has won 5 straight races. His Zalf-Euromobil team has been so well oiled over the last few races that Marini really just needs to show up for the last 300 meters. The rider from Lago de Iseo was raved about as a younger rider. He won 13 races at 15. 14 races at 16. 19 races as a junior racer including UCI wins and a top 10 at the Junior Worlds RR in Copenhagen. There is nobody in Italy in the amateur ranks that has as much speed as Marini but speed is only one component of a complete professional rider. If he keeps it up like this though, he will be in the World Tour come next year.