Thursday, April 25, 2013

GP Liberazione: Belorussian Koshevoy escapes to incredible victory

It should have been easy to see as it has happened the last three years but once again a breakaway ruled the 68th GP Liberazione.

The 23-lap circuit race around Rome's famed Baths of Caracalla set off around mid-day and very early on, it was Damien Howson (Australia) who set out with Filippo Rudi (Palazzago) and Mattia Viganò (FGM) on just the 2nd lap of the race. Soon after, it was Howson who dropped his breakaway companions and stretched his advantage to 1'20" on the flat to rolling course. Behind a speeding Howson, many riders tried to attack out of the peloton but to no avail. Last year's junior World Champion Matej Mohoric (Slovenia) was one of these attackers but he then was caught up in a crash with a race motorbike along with other riders.

While riders still attempted to bridge to Howson, last year's bronze medalist from the World U23 TT, Australia was dealt a big blow when Caleb Ewan was caught up in a crash with 20 other riders on a descent and was forced to pull out of the race.

With Ewan out, Australia had to shift their plan and the race broke open with 18 kilometers left. With Howson's advantage dropping, a group of four attacked out of the peloton including Belorussian Ilya Koshevoy (Big Hunter), Adam Phelan (Australia), Matteo Cremoni (Vibert Italia-Amore e Vita) and Mirko Trosino (Mastromarco). With others chasing from behind, the chasing four reached Howson and with two laps to go, Koshevoy and Phelan attacked their group and the advantage grew as the organization in the peloton failed.

With Koshevoy and Phelan flying away, a counter attack with Alberto Bettiol (Mastromarco), Stefano Nardelli (Gavardo), Federico Zurlo (Zalf-Euromobil) and Mitchell Mulhern (Australia) got a gap on the stalled peloton. Coming into the final kilometer, Koshevoy put in a soft attack that slowly distanced Phelan; 10 meters, 20 meters then 40 meters. In the final straight, Phelan pulled back some of the advantage but in the end, it was the Belorussian Koshevoy posting up for the victory ahead of Phelan. Behind, the counter attack had broken up with Bettiol coming in first ahead of Nardelli while Abruzzian Guiseppe Fonzi attacked the peloton late and managed a 5th place just ahead of a sprinting Andrea Zordan in 6th.

1° Ilya Koshevoy (Big Hunter)
2° Adam Phelan (Australia) a 1"
3° Alberto Bettiol (Mastromarco) a 30"
4° Stefano Nardelli (Gavardo) a 35"
5° Giuseppe Fonzi (Vini Fantini) a 39"
6° Andrea Zordan (Zalf Euromobil Desirée Fior) 40"
7° Paolo Simion (Zalf Euromobil Desirée Fior)
8° Riccardo Stacchiotti (Vini Fantini)
9° Gianni Bellini (Mastromarco)
10° Niccolò Rocchi (Marchiol Emisfero)

  • This was an impressive performance by Koshevoy, who up until not now had not had a big victory to his name. Koshevoy comes from a cycling background with both of his parents racing in their youth. He is also one of a few Belorussians that have come to the Italian amateur scene to try and strike it big. This win will go far in his search for a professional contract.
  • Even with the loss of Caleb Ewan, Australia has to be credited with a great race. This is the 7th time in 9 years that an Australian has stepped on the podium in this race. Phelan and Howson continued strong seasons and both are headed towards pro contracts next season.
  • Where the hell were Zalf, Trevigiani and Colpack? Arguably the three strongest Italian teams and most of them were anonymous today with Zalf being the only one to make a dent. Davide Villella (Colpack) and Michele Scartezzini (Trevigiani) both attempted to attack but they both went nowhere. Even with Andrea Zordan winning the group sprint for 6th, Zalf comes away with a sour taste in their mouth.
  • Mastromarco probably put in the strongest performance by an Italian team. Mirko Trosino attacked with Koshevoy and Phelan but couldn't hold on while Bettiol did well to get the team on the final podium. Grade A job done by Gabriele Balducci's Tuscan team.

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