Davide Martinelli comes 7th in the People’s Choice Classic
Etixx – Quick-Step's neo-pro rider put on a strong sprint to record a good result in the lead-up to the Tour Down Under.
The Adelaide Criterium witnessed a fast pace right from the gun, with an average speed of 51 km/h in the first laps that didn’t leave too much space to attackers. Once things calmed down, Pieter Serry went into a group that stayed at the front for a couple of seconds, which allowed the Belgian to finish third at the second intermediary sprint. A couple of minutes later, Martin Velits tried his luck and managed to infiltrate in a three-men group which took a 50-m advantage on the field. Also this move was neutralized, but not before the Slovak rider came second at the last intermediary sprint of the day.
In the final laps, the sprinters’ teams got out in the front, preparing the lead-out for their riders. Thanks to a powerful kick, Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) finished first, ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Adam Blythe (Tinkoff), who rounded out the podium. Neo-pro Davide Martinelli – riding his first race for Etixx – Quick-Step – positioned himself nicely in the last kilometer and sprinted to seventh place at the end of the 51-km long race.
“Today we had a hard race, but with a fantastic public lining the route, cheering and supporting us all the time. It gave my goosebumps. To get a top 10 in the criterium is really fantastic, especially as this was my very first race of the season”, said the 22-year-old Italian, whose feelings were echoed by sport director Rik van Slycke: "It was tough today, and the riders suffered a bit because of the heat. Although young, Davide Martinelli was very motivated and that pleases us. He fought for a good position in the finale and eventually came seventh. A job well done for a cyclist riding such a top event."
A rest day is next for the riders, followed by the first stage of the Tour Down Under, on January 19th. The peloton will set off from Prospect for a 130.8-km long stage which will finish in Lyndoch, where the sprinters should take the spoils.
Photo credit: Tim De Waele