Simone Ponzi slowly returns to his pre-injury form, as he finishes in the top 15 in stage 1 of Giro della Toscana – Memorial Alfredo Martini.
Stage 1 from Arezzo to Montecatini Terme went through undulating terrain of Tuscany, but the finale was flat. Thus, the sprinters were not counted out from competing for the win.
The breakaway of the day consisted of six riders: Nurbolat Kulimbetov (Astana), Miguel Angel Benito (Caja Rural – RGA), Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Gianfranco Zilioli (Nippo-Fantini), Jens Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise), Nicolas Baldo (Team Roth). For a long time they maintained 5-minute gap, but the peloton had things under control and easily caught them with 29km to go.
Next move included seven quality riders and pre-race favorites. Daniele Bennati (Italia), Fabio Aru (Astana), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Mirko Selvaggi, Egan Bernal (Androni – Sidermec), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani – CSF) and Jonathan Hivert (Fortuneo – Vital Concept) went away gaining 50 seconds on the bunch. Caja Rural – RGA and Dimension Data were leading the chase.
Inside final 10 kilometer “big guns” – Aru, Visconti, Colbrelli and Bennati – fired up. They managed to hold off the chasing bunch and arrive at the line ahead of the shredded peloton. Visconti was the fastest in the finale and claimed the win, while Colbrelli and Bennati finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Simone Ponzi was the team’s top finisher, taking 15th place. Davide Rebellin was also present in the main field, in 38th.