Tuesday, August 11, 2015

GP Poggiana: Nardelli gets the Monkey of his Back

Nardelli takes the solo victory
Late summer is a classic time for the Italian amateur season. As intoxicating as the spring can be with classic one-day races, the 2nd half of summer sees riders waking up after summer vacation with some looking for Worlds rides while others are chasing a contract. The GP Poggiana is a circuit race that take place in the Venetian city of Riese Pio X, named after their most famous son Pope Pius X, who was by all accounts a very conservative pope that vehemently opposed modernity.

The race itself was fairly boilerplate for an Italian amateur race but with the absences of Rob Power (knee injury) and Gianni Moscon (illness), it would be spiked with some uncertainty. A breakaway got away that took up the majority of the early part of the race. Said breakaway included Simone Velasco (Zalf-Euromobil) and Matteo Fabbro (Friuli) but they would be caught on the last ascent of the Mostacin climb. They would be joined by Jack Haig (Australia), Power's first lieutenant, and Stefano Nardelli, the lanky Italian from UniEuro-Wilier who has been riding very consistently. Haig has a brief time off the front before being swallowed up by the front group. The now quartet was out front but it was a brief tryst before three more joined their fold including Lorenzo Rota (MG.Kvis-Trevigiani), Alessandro Fedeli (General Store) and Filippo Zacanti (Colpack).

It seemed like it would be coming down to a sprint for the finale but with 5 kilometers to go, it was Nardelli who struck for glory. The Trento native had never won a U23 race road race. His only victories in the U23 ranks have been a couple of mountain time trials but this would be his chance. The chase had stalled. No one took the impetus. Nardelli was streaking and no one was going to stop him. In just 5 kilometers, he took 42 seconds and a brilliant solo victory that erased his goose egg from his palmares. It has been 4 years coming but oh, how sweet it is.

Behind, it was Velasco, who spent the majority of the day in the breakaway, taking the sprint for 2nd ahead of Rota and Fabbro while Haig rolled across 5th.

The Italian season continues in a week with the GP Capodarco, one of the most beautiful races of the season.

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