Brave Alaphilippe lights up Milano-Torino
Dan Martin finishes 11th in the tough 186km-long Italian semi-classic, two days ahead of Il Lombardia.
In his first race since the World Championships in Norway, Julian Alaphilippe was again in the spotlight, with a spectacular attack that he fired 20 kilometers from home, on the first ascent of the Superga climb. The young Frenchman caught and then dropped with ease the five men who were at the front and crested the climb with a 22-second advantage, before hurtling down the technical descent.
Several teams joined forces and led the chase behind the Paris-Nice and Vuelta a España stage victor, who was reabsorbed on the flat run-in to Superga, with just eight kilometers to go: "I felt pretty good and attacked hoping that others will join me, but things didn't go as planned and instead of a small group up the road, it was just me there, making it hard to keep that advantage", said Julian at the finish. "But I liked the race, despite this excruciating climb, I feel ok and will start Saturday's race with confidence after today."
The already thinned out peloton was blown to pieces inside the final five kilometers, when the riders began tackling Superga again. The 4.9km-long climb averaging 9.1% took its toll and led to some pretty big gaps, as more and more men struggled to match the high pace of the attackers. Of these, Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) broke clear with 2500 meters to go and maintained his gap until the finish, where he prevailed over Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) and Fabio Aru (Astana).
Dan Martin, who returned in Milano-Torino after four years, arrived at the top in 11th place, a result which gave him some satisfaction, giving that it came after a race which wasn't his cup of tea: "Can't say I felt too good today, the legs weren't responding as I wanted, but at the end of the day finishing just outside the top 10 is an encouraging result for Il Lombardia. I like the course, on paper it suits me and I hope to have a solid race, as it would be really nice to end the season with a good result."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele