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Pesca Nettarine

On Friday the 28th of May to the 31st, Zappi's Racing Team rode in the Giro Ciclista Pesca Nettarine. This race was an Italian National U23 and counts Davide Formolo, Damiano Caruso, Rafal Majka and Ben Swift among the pro riders who have cut their teeth in the race.

 

The first stage was flat for the first 100km of the 135km. The roads were very open among the fruit growing fields that give the race it's name. There was also a healthy wind to give our riders something extra to think about as the bunch charged through the countryside. The wind and the high number of riders wishing to be part of the day's breakaway meant that the pace was very high from the start. James Locker and Owen James infiltrated the days break of 12 riders which gave Zappi's a very strong hand with which to attack the up coming KOM points and intermediate sprints. Owen took 1st over the first climb of the day and 2nd on the second, which meant that he secured the Maglia Azzurre of the KOM leader that night. Meanwhile James Locker went for the intermediate sprints and took 1st and 2nd in each of the sprints respectively meaning he took away the sprints prize for the day, which amongst other things netted him a massive parma ham!! In the meantime Scott Auld took 14th in the bunch sprint that materialised once the break was caught. Sadly though he narrowly missed out on taking the white jersey by two places. James Knox, our GC leader remained safely in the bunch and didn't lose any time to the main contenders.

 

Stage two was the queen stage of the race and took us over four 6km long climbs, three of which were on a lap that was repeated three times. Clearly this stage looked to be where the race would be won or lost. The field was split up dramatically from the start of the first climb with a grupetto forming of the big sprinters. Owen looked to hold on to his Blue jersey and so was on the attack from the gun in order to try and make it into a break that would allow him to have a shot at taking some points over the first climb of the day. This he managed to do netting some points for second over the first 1st Cat climb. Sadly however the jersey would not remain his that night as another boy managed 1st, 1st and 2nd over the next three category 1 climbs bagging himself a shed load of points. In the meantime, as the bunch was whittled down by the ferocity of the parcours, a select group of GC contenders remained with one lap to go over the climb, this included our man James Knox. Sadly a hard day's racing took its toll on the final climb and James didn't manage to go with the race winning move over the final climb and so came in with a group of about 15 riders to take 25 on the day, a couple minutes down on the overall leaders. On a positive note for Zappi's Dan Pearson, one of our boys from last year race team, now riding for Zalf Euromobile Desire Fior, took third on the day.

 

The final day dawned and although there were many a pair of tired legs amongst the team, the boys were all motivated to keep the race together over the tough parcours and hopefully get Bertie Newey to the finish to mix it in the sprint. The day was the longest of the three stages at a shade over 150km. The parcours was flat for the first 80kms where the race would be interrupted by three short sharp steep climbs that were then followed by a flat 50km run into the finish, which would take place over a circuit of two laps around the town of Faenza. The race was fast from the off with many boys keen to be part of the days break, including Owen James who wanted to give himself a shout of taking more points in the KOM competition. So the pace was high as fangless breakaways hissed and faded but eventually a move of four guys chipped off. At this point Team Colpack moved to the front to control the break for their sprinter and also their rider in the leaders jersey. Alex Fanshawe was committed to the front by Flavio and worked strongly with four Colpack riders on the front to control the gap and eventually reel the escapees in by the foot of the second climb. Over the second climb the field was all split up and a group of punchy riders went clean. The Zappi's boys stayed together as a unit working to keep Bertie in contention. Once the climbs were completed the situation emerged with our boys in the front group behind the break of ten along with the teams of the Overall leader and leader of the Points Classification. The boys, along with other teams, drilled it on the front in order to bring back the break-away. Sadly however it transpired that the break contained a group of very strong, committed riders and so managed to just hold on to a 30 second advantage at the finish. The team was left with a feeling of "what could have been" as Bertie took the sprint from the bunch with ease to earn himself 9th place on the day. Owen, despite not managing to harvest any points on the climbs of the day, held on to 2nd place in the mountains competition for the weekend! As an added bonus our old friend Dan Pearson took 3rd overall!

 

As always with a race of this size we had lots of help! Firstly it goes without saying that we couldn't have done the weekend without our DS Flavio and all the work he puts in on our behalf. We also had the help of Flavio's son Sam and super mechanic Alan Penny, a member of the Zappi's Cycling Club back home in England. A huge thank you must go to both these guys!

 

Finally a huge thank you to Planet X who provide the weapons we go to war on each week!

 

 Photographed by Alan Penny, 2015

10 June 2015

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