Sunday, March 1, 2015

GP Izola: Mühlberger gets off to another fast start

Last year, Gregor Mühlberger was one of the revelations of the early season after winning the prologue of the Istrian Spring Trophy and winning a 5-up sprint to take the Trofeo Piva Banca. In all, he took 6 wins from March through June and got himself a stagiaire ride with NetApp-Endura, where he snagged an 11th place in Tre Valli Varesine. While he didn't get a pro contract for this season, he switched from Tirol to Felbermayr-Simplon (formerly Gourtmetfein) and it has already garnered results

GP Izola

Beautiful Izola
In its 2nd edition, the GP Izola takes place in and around the Mediterranean port city that lies just 30 kilometers south of Trieste on the bit of Slovenia that juts out and creates a barrier between Italy and Slovenia. The course features multiple hills and with just 30 kilometers to go, Mühlberger took off with Primoz Roglic (Adria Mobil), Paolo Ciavatta (d'Amico-Bottecchia), Lukas Pöstlberger (Tirol) and Igor Frolov (Itera-Katusha) and the quintet got a maximum lead of 7 minutes.

With the major teams represented, the impetus was gone for the peloton to chase and once it was pretty much impossible for the peloton to comeback, Roglic attacked the group and the quintet was shredded. Pöstlberger and Frolov were dropped with the Austrian dropping out and the Russian finished in the back group nearly 4 minutes down. Roglic had a ten second gap and it was Mühlberger who was able to cross it while Ciavatta would spend the rest of the race chasing in no man's land.
Coming to the line, Mühlberger was the fresher of the two and the Austrian powered to his first win of the season. Ciavatta came in for 3rd just ahead of a speeding peloton that was led home by ex-World Tour rider Marko Kump (Adria Mobil) ahead of Maksym Averin (Synergy Baku) and Fabio Chinello (Unieuro Wilier Trevigiani).

1. Gregor Mühlberger (Felbermayr - Simplon) 3:54:51
2. Primoz Roglic (Adria Mobil) s.t.
3. Paolo Ciavatta (d'Amico Bottechia) + 1'10"
4. Marko Kump (Adria Mobil) +1'14"
5. Maksym Averin (Synergy Baku) all s.t.
6. Fabio Chinello (Unieuro Wilier Trevigiani)
7. Daniel Biedermann (Felbermayr - Simplon)
8. Gasper Katrasnik (Sava)
9. Sergey Nikolaev (Itera-Katusha)
10. Felix Großschartner (Felbermayr - Simplon)

Keep an eye on Mühlberger going forward this season as he is a strong time trialist and tends to produce in breakaway situations such as these. He is just a 1994 product and will be on the eye of many teams this year for a stagiaire role and a contract for 2016. Bora-Argon 18 will probably be the front runner as he has stagiaire'd there before but Trek Factory Racing and IAM Cycling could possibly be other destinations as other Austrian riders have ended up there.

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