Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Italian Sprint Opera: Mareczko beats Marini

In fair Veneto, our story continues. The house of Zalf-Euromobil has dominated the racing up to this point with nearly every race they enter coming up as a win. The houses of Colpack and Viris-Maserati have been trying to launch a counter to the blue-green-red leviathan but to no avail until this past Saturday, where on home soil, an upset occurred for the heavily-favored Zalf-Euromobil team.

The Italian Sprint Opera: Mareczko beats Marini at Vicenza-Bionde

Mareczko is becoming a master of the "sprint face" (Photo: Italia Ciclismo)

Jakub Mareczko, the young sprinter with Viris Maserati, has had a very good last two weekends and seems to have finally broken through after beating Caleb Ewan and now Zalf-Euromobil's super sprinter Nicolas Marini, who had won 6 races already this year coming into Sunday's Vicenza-Bionde. Marini had finished 2nd in the race a year prior behind a solo Marlen Zmorka.

Marini came into Sunday's race having not lost a proper sprint yet this year; with his only non-wins coming in races where the race didn't catch the breakaway (and he won the sprint behind) or there was a long breakaway out front and his team usually won. Zalf-Euromobil and Viris Maserati kept the race together of the few climbs on the course, which sealed the sprinter's dual. Coming into the finale, it was the ever-faithful Davide Gomirato leading out Marini for the sprint and Marini opted for a longer sprint, launching with over 300 meters to go. While Marini usually has knockout speed, after 170 kilometers in the legs his speed was not the sharpest it had been and in the final meters, it was Mareczko, whose chest was just an inch of his handlebars, that came around him to take a stunning win. Mareczko pulled a similar maneuver on Caleb Ewan just the other week by ducking underneath him within the last 15 meters to take the win. Mareczko took his 3rd win of the year while Marini was disappointed with 2nd place but will find solace with the U23 Nations Cups races this week. A new face on the podium was Albanian Xhuliano Kamberaj (Cipollini Ale' Rime), who had previously been down with a virus, while Andrei Voicu (Pala Fenice) finished 4th and Gomirato in 5th.

The next big objective for the Italian sprinters will be at the GP Liberazione, the annual race that commemorates the fall of Mussolini's republic. Last year, Ilya Koshevoy attacked Adam Phelan on the last lap to run away with an impressive solo win. Now while the race is short and not necessarily the toughest race, many Italians see this race as a very important event and put everything on the line. Others, like Francesco Moser, this GP Liberazione is a big Communist plot. Zalf and Viris-Maserati will be there will full squads to challenge along with Colpack and many others.

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