WITH the European cycling season about to reach its height, the Aussies are showing good form, says JOHN TREVORROW:
AUSTRALIA’S only elite cycling team Mitchelton-Scott are on top of the world after a big weekend in Europe, in which they featured prominently in three elite men’s races.The Settimana Internaazionale Coppi e Bartali, a five day 2.1 category event that finished in Sassuola, Italy. On Sunday, saw the team dominate, finishing first second and third overall in a very rare trifecta.
The Coppi e Bartali, named after Italy’s two greatest cyclists, Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, has had a strong Aussie flavour over the years with Phil Anderson winning in 1991 and Cadel Evans in 2008.It is the first time that any team has filled all three steps on the podium in a multi stage event of this calibre in Europe and the only other time I can recall it happening anywhere is the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in 2018 when Mitchelton-Scott’s Esteban Chaves grabbed the flowers from Cam Meyer and Damian Howson.
Mitchelton-Scott secured the historic one, two, three on the general classification after taking out the team time trial on stage 1B beating Team Sky and Movistar. Lucas Hamilton then put in superb ride to finish second to Spanish climbing star Mikel Landa (Movistar) on stage two and take the overall lead.
The team then did a brilliant job to keep Hamilton, Damien Howson and Nick Schultzin the top three positions. The Volta a Catalunya, a seven day World Tour event in Northern Spain saw Adam Yates from Mitchelton Scott finish second in a first class performance.
The in-form young Englishman who also finished second only 0.31 of a second from victory last week in Tirreno Adriatica, was gallant in defeat attacking leader Miguel Angel Lopez in the final stage gaining 40 seconds before the Astana and Sky teams combined to close him down.And also this weekend in Belgium was the Gent Welvergem, the major lead-in race for next weekend’s Tour of Flanders.
Italian Mitchelton Scott star Matteo Trentin was in the day-long breakaway who were caught on the final climb but still managed to finish seventh overall.If you throw in the fact that the women’s Mitchelton Scott team are leading the world team rankings as well as Dutch superstar Annameik Van Vluten and tenacious Aussie Amanda Spratt are sitting one and two in the individual standings then you can safely say Mitchelton Scott is firing on all cylinders. Here’s what they said about the Coppi e Bartali:
“Again the team were amazing, I don’t think I even had to touch the wind at all today and considering how hard the race was I’d say that’s pretty abnormal.
“Movistar tried to split it with two laps to go but I think they saw we had strength in numbers still and it deterred them from trying again.
“I still had Damo and Nick helping me out even though they were second and third on GC, that shows the attitude that this team has.
“It’s my first professional win, and I love racing in Italy, so it’s nice to win an Italian race and to achieve one, two, three on the GC, that makes it a little bit more special.”
Matt Wilson (Sports Director):
“What an end to the race! It was another fantastic effort by the guys today, just like they have done all week, they controlled it all day.
“There was nothing too dangerous up the road in the breakaway and whenever there was an attack by a rider on the GC, they just stayed together and slowly brought them back.
“The priority ahead of the day was that we win the race and anything else was a bonus, but to get second and third, that really is a cherry on top and I couldn’t be prouder of the guys.