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James Knox's 49th Piccalo Sanremo Race Report

Zappi's Race Team, for the first time in 2015, took to the roads of Italy for the Piccola Sanremo a couple of weekends ago, and it was set to be an exciting weekend of racing! Despite the race bearing the finishing town’s name of the longest one-day classic race, the Milan-San Remo, the Piccola is in fact on the other side of Italy - based around the town of Sovizzo.

 

Racing kicked off with six laps around a flat, narrow circuit and the team went hard for the primes, but each time there was a group ahead of the peloton. I had a puncture but managed to get back into the peloton without any difficulties, which meant there was still a large enough group in the main peloton ready to start the hilly laps. We knew it would be fierce from the start as there was going to be seven of these in total.

 

The race heated up going into the first climb and everyone fought to get to the front. This was going to be particularly important with the tight corners and narrow roads leading up to the first summit. Soon after the first climb Bertie escaped from the bunch in a small group and quickly gained an advantage over the chasing peloton; Bertie managed to gain several king of the mountains points on the second lap before his group was brought back in by the main peloton.

 

The pace increased over the following laps before a select group of 50 riders remained, including myself and Callum Ferguson. We worked hard together to cover the various moves before the final two laps; the penultimate climb saw further a reduction in numbers and Callum eventually was dropped as well. It was a solid effort!

 

The remaining group attacked the final climb all together and pace was high from bottom-to-top, there were some strong attacks as the race hit its climax. I crested the summit in about 8th position, at the back of the second chasing group, as we chased down a pair of riders who managed to break away.

 

In a similar manner to the professional Milan-San Remo, the race drops off the final climb for a hectic descent and a couple of kilometres to a flat finish. On the descent three groups linked up to contest the sprint including Team Colpack who did a superb lead out to set up their sprint man, Consonni. for an impressive win! I sprinted to 10th in the same group, and was happy with the result, being the first race of the year in Italy for the team - hopefully a sign of things to come!

9 April 2015

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