Elia Viviani has won the Italian Road Race Championships for the first time in his career, after claiming his 14th victory of the year, one that came just one month after his triumph in the maglia ciclamino classification at the Giro d’Italia.
“It’s a dream come true and I am extremely proud and honoured to show the beautiful colours of Italy in the peloton over the next 12 months. On the podium I cried because I was overcome with emotion once things started to sink in. I can’t wait for my first race with this superb jersey,” he said afterwards.
Lining out at the start of the 233km-long event, Viviani counted on three Quick-Step Floors teammates – Eros Capecchi, Davide Martinelli and Fabio Sabatini – who kept the five-man breakaway in check and protected him until the final two laps, when several surges split the peloton on the hilly and fast circuit around Darfo Boario.
As soon as the escapees were caught, eight riders emerged from the peloton and opened a gap on another group who eventually managed to rejoin them. Among the 16 men in the lead was also Viviani, who didn’t wait for the race to follow its natural pattern, but instead decided to shape it, with a couple of probing attacks, which caught many off guard and thinned out the group.
Inside the last 15 kilometres, Daniel Oss (Bora-hansgrohe) powered away, but Viviani chased him down before launching a move of his own, which saw the Quick-Step Floors rider being joined only by Oss and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida). The trio put some daylight between them and the five chasers, who bridged across only for a short moment, as Pozzovivo accelerated on the final climb, taking only Viviani and teammate Giovanni Visconti with him. The Bahrain-Merida duo were unable to drop Viviani on the run-in to the line and easily won the sprint.
“I never thought I could win a race like today, on such a hard route,” said Viviani. “We were only a four-man team but we did all the right moves and I have to thank my teammates for how they rode their hearts out for me today.”
“In the final, when I attacked with Oss and Pozzovivo it was the right moment, and when Pozzovivo counterattacked, opening a short 10 second gap to Visconti, who closed us just at the top, I knew I was in a good position as I just had to jump on their wheels if they tried to jump. Usually, you don’t have more than one or two shots when you reach the final of such a long and tough race but today I really had the legs to do it. I am so excited for this victory,” explained Viviani.