Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) claimed the biggest win of his career when he sprinted to victory in the Coppa Sabatini, beating Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) into second place in the uphill group sprint in Peccioli.
The result was a reverse of the outcome of the 2016 edition of the race, when Colbrelli pipped Pasqualon to the win on the same finale in Tuscany. Colbrelli was chasing his third Coppa Sabatini win in four years, and he opened his sprint from distance, but was overhauled by Pasqualon in the closing metres.
Colbrelli appealed the result immediately after the stage, claiming that Pasqualon had deviated from his line, but the commissaires promptly confirmed that that the Wanty-Groupe Gobert man was the winner.
Francesco Gavazzi (Androni-Sidermec) took third place in the bunch finish, ahead of Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) and Eduard Prades (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).
Pasqualon had racked up a series of placings at the Coppa Sabatini in recent years and was determined to win this year, telling his teammates before the race that he would open up the sprint after the last sweeping corner.
“I know the finish after being beaten in recent years and this time I had the courage to go for it. I didn’t have that courage in the pat but this year I’m a lot stronger and more confident in what I can do in the finale of races. Changing teams and riding the Tour de France has made a huge difference. I can feel I’m stronger and have more endurance,” Pasqualon said.
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