Stannard returns to racing with aggressive win at Gp Sportivi di PoggianaSun 12 Aug 2018
Australian Rob Stannard returned to racing with a bang for Mitchelton-BikeExchange at the 43rd edition of the GP Sportivi di Poggiana, taking the victory from a two-up sprint after a well-timed late attack.
An initial breakaway group of 13riders went clear over the opening kilometres, as the race headed out into the Veneto countryside, and gained over four minutes on the peloton before the rolling roads took their toll and reduced the group to just five members with 80kilometres still to race.
The attritious course transitioned over different circuits around Poggiana, including repeated sharp climbs like the Muro di Crespignaga with gradients reaching 20%, and the Chinese outfit controlling the front of the peloton with Harry Sweeny and Kaden Groves.
After choosing the right moment to bring the leaders a little closer, Mitchelton-BikeExchange kept the pace high with Callum Scotson and Sam Jenner the last two with Stannard as he attacked out of the bunch, bridged across and alongside six others pushed on into the closing kilometres.
Marking the attacks well, the 19-year-old Australian looked strong and again picked the right time to move. Accelerating into the last kilometre for a 400metre two-up drag race against Alberto Giuriato (Team-Friuli) and winning comfortably.
“I am really happy to have won this race, it’s a tough event, but we played to our strengths well today and the guys rode brilliantly to set me up at the front going onto the last climbs.”
“There were lots of attacks on the flat sections of the course and we chose crucial moments in the race to put the pressure on the breakaway and make sure we were in the best position at the front.
“I attacked on the penultimate climb and took two guys with me and we made it over to the remnants of the break. My legs didn’t feel great at the start, but they did as we went into the final and I decided to go from around 400metres out. It feels really good and it’s a positive way to go into the Tour de l’Avenir on the back of a race win."
Sport director Neil Stephens:
“What a great race today. The boy’s rode brilliantly throughout and stuck to our plan really well. It was a hot day and on from the gun with repeated attacks before the break formed and it was important for us to stay patient and sit at a steady tempo.
“Harry, Kaden, Callum and Sam controlled things nicely at the front and they weren’t phased when more attacks came and went, they held the pace until the moment came to put the hammer down and launch Rob up the road.
“He did brilliantly in the finish and really showed his strength and intelligence in choosing the best time to kick and it’s great for the guys to come away with the victory in an old race like this.”
GP Sportivi di Poggiana results:
1. Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange)
2. Alberto Giuriato (Team-Friuli)
3. Samuele Battistella (Zalf)