Simone Ponzi sprinted to 5th place in first of autumn, Italian one-day races, Coppa Agostoni – Giro delle Brianze (1.1).
Info: 13th of September, Lissone – Lissone, 199,9km
How it unfolded
It was a lively opening of the race and the breakaway was formed with around 45km into the competition. Shane Archbold (Bora-hansgrohe), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Luca Wackermann (Bardiani-CSF), Angel Madrazo (Delko-Marseille), Samue Mugisha (Dimension Data) and Mattias Krizek (Tirol) went clear, gaining nearly 6 minutes on the bunch. Escape in that composition didn’t last too long though, as Padun, Perichon and Madrazo left others behind. The trio entered final 60km of racing with 2-minute lead.
Egan Bernal (Androni – Sidermec – Bottecchia) closed that gap in no time, after he launched a powerful attack on one of the last climbs of the day, with 60km to go. It was still long way to go, but for such a good climber as the Colombian, it was his only chance to shake things up.
He bridged to Padun, the last escapee who survived in the front, after 15-kilometer pursuit and together they were trying to hold off the chasers. They attempt wasn’t successful as they got reeled back in by reduced to 40 riders bunch, with 12km to go. Simone Ponzi was part of the main group and was gearing up for the final sprint.
Despite some attempts late in the race, it came down to a bunch finish. Ponzi made sure to position himself at the head of the field with 2km to go and was able to keep that spot until the decisive sprint. He claimed 5th at the line, while Michael Albasini (Switzerland) took the win. Marco Canola (Nippo – Vini Fantini) was 2nd and Francesco Gavazzi (Androni – Sidermec – Bottecchia) 3rd.
On the one hand I’m satisfied with my performance, since it was my first race after a month long break, but on the other I’m disappointed, because I felt I had the legs to finish on the podium – Ponzi explained. – Coming into the sprint I was very well positioned, on Albasini’s wheel, but got pushed off, losing that spot. When Albasini started his sprint I was too far to the right to get back on his wheel.