With predicted rains, winding roads, six categorized climbs, and multiple previous winners at the start…
Valgren takes his first win in pink
Dane times attack perfectly and takes solo win in Tuscany
Michael Valgren took his first win in pink at the Giro della Toscana after beating a star studded field with a perfectly timed attack.
The 191-kilometer course took the riders through the countryside of the province of Tuscany on a challenging course which featured two ascents of the Monte Serra. It was clear from the first time up the climb that the EF Education–NIPPO riders were here to race aggressively from the front. Jimmy Whelan and Will Barta helped guide our squad to the climb and Ruben Guerreiro got things going on the first climb. His tempo broke up the peloton and launched Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Higuita who were able to open a small gap on the descent before being brought back.
But it was on the second time up the climb that the main selection was made. Neilson Powless was one of the riders who kicked things off at the foot of the climb. Over the top, overlooking the city of Pisa and the Tuscan countryside below, a select group of riders went clear which included Powless, Higuita and Valgren.
“I know the Monte Serra climb really well as I lived in Luca during my first year as a pro,” says Michael Valgren. “I like the climb a lot so it was special to be up there fighting for the win.”
After a descending masterclass by Neilson Powless, the drag to the line was highly tactical with numerous riders attempting attacks as they made their way back into Pontedera. With 14-kilometers to go, during a brief lull in action, Valgren was able to roll off the front alone. The gap would quickly extend to over one minute with Powless and Higuita doing colossal job breaking up the chase group anytime they got organized.
Michael Valgren would cross the line over a minute ahead of his closest rival and was able to savor the final couple of hundred meters. His first win since he took the Amstel Gold Race in 2018, this race was special for a rider that has proved time and time again that he could be there with the best.
“This is a race for climbers and I’m not really a climber so I had to dig really deep. This was definitely special.”
“This was just as much of a team win as it was a win for Michael,” says sport director Matti Breschel. “The team rode perfectly all day.”
Tomorrow, the squad is racing again at the Coppa Sabatini. Despite a very different course, Breschel thinks it’ll be “a punchy one, but more or less the same tactic” tomorrow.
See you tomorrow for more racing in Italy.