|Homeboy did it (Photo: Italiaciclismo)|
While this was a home race for the team, it was something even more to Simone Andreetta. Andreetta is from the town of Vittorio Veneto, which is just 10 kilometers from the start/finish line of this race, and if he is like any other young kid growing up on a racing bike, he went out and did the hardest climbs in his area, ad nauseam. This includes the Montaner climb, which is just a short spin outside of his childhood door and features prominently on the Belvedere course; being hit twice over the final two circuits. It was a trip in the way back machine for Andreetta; back to a simpler time when it was just between the hill and himself.
The peloton clipped in and set off to tackle 10 laps of a 12.1 kilometer course, which included the Conche climb, before hitting two circuits of a longer 16.5 kilometer course, which featured the Montaner climb. 154 kilometers in all and just mere kilometers into the race, the main breakaway was formed. A group of 17, including the like of Davide Martinelli (Colpack), Giacomo Berlato & Gianni Moscon (Zalf-Euromobil) and Phil Bauhaus (Stölting), got away and got a maximum gap of just 1'40" as the peloton was keen on not letting things get too out of hand.
With 45 kilometers to go, the breakaway was shutdown and nothing was able to get away while the race was preparing for the difficult Montaner climb. Zalf controlled it over the top of the first passage, lead over by Moscon and Andreetta, while everyone seemed to be waiting for the final passage of the climb to do anything. A group of roughly 40 reached the bottom of the climb for the 2nd and final time but that number was soon to be reduced. Stölting took the initiative and three of their riders including Silvio Herklotz, Yuriy Vasyliv and who I think was Christian Mager, just decided to ride of the front and try and pound everyone into submission while launching Herklotz. Andreetta lept out of the chasing group as was able to bridge up to the Stölting trio. By the time they summited the climb, it was just Herklotz and Andreetta left for the descent and flat finish. The duo just released the breaks and bombed the descent, getting a gap of nearly 30 seconds by the time they hit the bottom.
With 1 kilometer to go, the duo had 20 seconds but they decided to dick around for a little while until Herklotz opened up the sprint but it was the hometown Italian who was able to come around to take the victory with some ease. It was Andreetta's first big international win since he won a stage of the Giro della Lunigiana as a junior in 2011 and it was Zalf's first international win of the year, which always makes the bosses happy. Herklotz was denied the win here for the 2nd year running, messing up the sprint yet again after losing to Stefan Küng last year. It is a return to form for the young German who had been a bit off the torrid pace that he set last year in his 1st U23 season. Leading in the chasing group for 3rd a couple seconds later was was Luca Chirico (Mg.Kvis-Trevigiani) ahead of Luka Pibernik (Radenska) and Vasyliv.
Andreetta has been close before in major races, going 2nd last year in Trofeo Piva Banca, and is being touted as one of the best Italy has to offer for the future. He is the class of '93 so he still has another U23 season left, if he chooses so, and he rode Tour de l'Avenir last year really well and won the Memorial Gerry Gasparotto earlier this year in a solo breakaway. So if he ends up turning pro, I would be surprised if the Italian Federation tries to get a Worlds bid for Treviso that ends up going through Vittorio Veneto.