Monte Urano Italian National
The next race on the Calendar after Recioto was an Elite Italian National, ‘Monte Urano.’ Going into this race I had good legs and confidence coming out of Recioto with a 12th place. It was also just a few days off the back of a big block of training with the team so I was carrying a little bit of fatigue into the race but was feeling strong. We set off on our way down south late Friday morning and after a few hours we arrived. A nice hotel’s always good for the pre-race morale. Once we’d unpacked and had a bit of something to eat we set off on the usual pre-race ride around some of the course. The race would be around 160KM and included 8 laps around a course with a 4 to 5 minute climb into a rolling section then into the town where the race would be finishing. After this it would drop back down into a few KM of flat before starting the climb again. Then on the final lap after the climb the course would drop straight down to run into the finish climb which we would turn a right hand corner to begin the climb. This climb was just over 5 minutes and had steep ramps before flattening off repeatedly and then carrying on until the finish. The race set off after a few KM of neutralised. Starting on a wet decent made it quite sketchy with some crashes happening on the decent. Eventually the race settled down, while being controlled by some teams. Like most Italian races on these tough courses it was quite attritional with people going out of the back every lap. In the final few laps the pace picked up more and more until there was a reduced bunch of around 40-50 riders hitting the penultimate climb. The pace was high here with everyone trying to get up to the front of the bunch before the technical decent into the finishing climb. I managed to position myself well into this decent with the help of Calum on the penultimate climb meaning I crested the top in around 10th position and managed to move up a few places on the decent leading into the final climb. Once we turned the right hand bend to start the climb attacks instantly started which strung out the bunch, after a few minutes the bunch eased up then I saw the chance…I attacked up the harder part of the climb and looking over my shoulder there were 2 riders who were able to get onto me after the effort, with both not wanting to come through or attack themselves, the race eased off again allowing people to get back up to the front. This then meant that another attack was launched which made others go over the top. Sadly, I wasn’t able to follow the first 5 who went up the road which meant I was left chasing with 4 or so riders. Coming into the final bend I was positioned 3rd wheel in our group and I wasn’t able to make up any more places so finished in 8th which I was pleased with from an Elite field. I also was pleased to win the white jersey for highest placed first year U23. It was good to see Tim finish in 14th and the other Zappi guys riding strongly.