In the lead-up to the Italian classics week, Cannondale-Drapac made clear its intention. The American-registered squad was eager to close out the season with a win and brought a fit, motivated squad in pursuit of its objectives. Three races in, #GreenArgyle had already snagged a podium and a pair of fifth places. Those races proved a warm-up for Thursday’s showdown.
Rigoberto Uran was the first rider to pass the Basilica di Superga just meters before reaching the Milano-Torino finish line. The Colombian held off ORICA-SCOTT’s Adam Yates, who had jumped out of the bunch, passed all chasers and crossed the finish line 10 seconds behind Uran. Italian road champion Fabio Aru (Astana) rounded out the podium.
“It was a good day. I’m really happy,” said Uran. “This is a nice victory for me and for Cannondale-Drapac — for everybody.”
The main difficulty in the 186-kilometer race from Milan to Turin is located at the end of the race, with a double ascent of the Superga climb and a technical descent plus only 15 kilometres in between to recover.
The finale began on the first climb. A four-rider breakaway, that had formed quickly after the start, had only 20 seconds left at the foot of the climb, and the end of their reign was in sight.
With the leaders reeled back in, it quickly became a race of attrition with a selective group arriving at the top of the climb. Uran handily followed wheels up the climb, keeping a low profile in the wheels of his competitors.
On the second climb, Uran came to fore.
“I wanted to wait until the second climb, because this climb is short, but really hard,” said Uran. “I was in a group of four, five riders and I decided to attack on instinct. I went full gas to the finish line.”
“Rigo was super strong today and also tactically good,” sports director Fabrizio Guidi said. “If it had been a complete bunch when he attacked, it would maybe not have been the right moment. But Rigo took the opportunity and went for it. He managed to keep the gap until the finish line. It was a gamble, but it paid off.”
Uran admitted that he would have preferred to wait a little longer with his attack but that it felt like the right moment to go.
“In my career, sometimes I have been told that I’ve attacked too early or too late,” he said. “Today it was early, not exactly when I planned to do it. But I saw a gap and I went – on the hardest part of the climb.”
“I thought Fabio Aru or someone would come across, but nobody did,” Uran continued. “I had the situation under control, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure of winning until I looked behind me in the final curve. It’s important for me and the team to get a victory, especially as a confidence booster ahead of Il Lombardia, which is a race I like a lot.”
“The team rode well this week,” Guidi added. “It’s going to be good in Il Lombardia.”