Diego Ulissi and the whole LAMPRE-MERIDA team celebrated on the second stage of Coppi e Bartali, 162.3 km from Gatteo to Sogliano al Rubicone with 5 passages on Ville di Monte Tiffi climb.
At the end of a demanding stage, young Italian cyclist obtained his forst seasonal victory, preceding Colombian Rubiano Chavez and team mate Damiano Cunego, who performed an impressive race.
LAMPRE-MERIDA managed very well its resources during the stage, controlling a 6 riders breakaway before moving its main athletes: Cunego, Ulissi and Pietropolli were reactive in evaluating every change of situation in the head group during the last two passages on Ville di Monte Tiffi climb. Cunego joined an attack in the downhill at 18 km to go, then he attacked again at -12 km, reducing the head group to 10 cyclists. His action was neutralized after 2 km, just before Ulissi escaped definitively towards the victory. Ulissi crossed the finish line 34″ before Rubiano Chavez, 1’11” before Cunego.
The overall classification is colored in blue-fuchsia-green: Ulissi leader, Cunego 3rd at 1’17”.
Ulissi, born in 1989 and at his 4th season as pro, has obtained the 8th victory in career.
“I’m so satisfied I won such demanding stage and I’m very happy I could finally win, at the end of a period in which my shape was very good but I couldn’t win – Ulissi explained – The opponents teams made the race very tough, but Cunego, Pietropolli and me could be manage very well the situation. Then, in the heat moments, I talked with Damiano and we decided to cooperate in attacking one after the other. Cunego’s attempt was good, but the other riders could complete the chase, then I perform my attack: I knew I had energies and so I could avoid the chase of the group.
The classification situation is good for me and Damiano, but it will be important to recover energies and to pay attention in view of the next demanding stages”.
These are Cunego’s words at the arrival: “LAMPRE-MERIDA won and I could appreciate my increasing condition: that’s why I’m very happy today. During the race, I discussed with Ulissi and we decide to join our energies in order to hit the target. I attacked for first and I forced the opponents to make a huge effort to close the gap. Then it was Diego’s turn: his attack was very strong, no one could reply. I check the situation among the chasers, waiting to rely eventually on my speed if someone could have brought our group on Ulissi’s wheel, but this did not happen.
My performance was useful for the victory of my team mate, I’m sure I’ll get back the help when I’ll be racing in my main appointments, the Ardenne classics”.
1- Ulissi 4h33’32”
2- Rubiano Chavez 34″
3- Cunego 1’11”
4- Rogina s.t.
5- Zodl 1’15”.
2- Rubiano Chavez 58″
3- Cunego 1’17”
4- Rebellin 1’40”
5- Konig 1’42”