Cerny and Cavagna go 1-2 at Coppi e Bartali
Josef Cerny captured his second win in the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl ranks – after last year’s ITT title at the Nationals – and sealed a great week for the team at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, which concluded Saturday with another hilly stage, this time between Casalguidi and Cantagrillo.
The victory, our squad’s second in Italy after the one scored by Mauro Schmid on the opening day, came after an exceptionally strong ride of the Wolfpack duo, who produced a vintage display of dominance on the hilly roads of Pistoia to land the team’s 16th success of the year.
Two of the ten riders to book a place in the breakaway, Josef Cerny and Rémi Cavagna helped the front group open up an unassailable lead of more than nine minutes, before ramping up the place inside the last 50 kilometers to go, when they provoked a decisive split. Joined by only one other rider, they collaborated to ensure a hefty gap over the chasers, and patiently waited for the right moment to make the winning move.
This came 20 kilometers from the finish, when Cerny skipped away and made full use of his time trial skills to forge out a one-minute gap. Behind, the French Champion kept an eye on Omer Goldstein (Israel-Start Up Nation) before breaking away from him three kilometers from the finish. He linked up with his teammate, who in the meantime slowed down to wait for him, and the duo crossed the line arm-in-arm – a moment reminiscent of another memorable 1-2 involving Cerny, at last year’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
“It's always special when you win like this. It was a copy-paste of last year’s Pais Vasco, where I arrived at the finish together with Mikkel, who took the win, after another day in the breakaway. It has been a hard week of racing here, but we felt good and so we decided to go in the early move. It was a numerous one, but then we attacked and continued in just three. On the penultimate lap I accelerated, and with the other guy not following, I immediately built a nice gap.”
“In the closing kilometers, Rémi dropped him and joined me, which was special and beautiful. You always like sharing the joy with a teammate. It’s my first victory of the season and I would love to add some more. We leave the race with two stage wins and a lot of confidence, having shown the Wolfpack spirit on all the stages”, concluded Josef.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images