Astarloa Wins Milan-Turin
Igor Astarloa (Barloworld) has won Milan-Turin. The former world champion ended a long fallow period by taking a four-up sprint to win the 199-km Italian classic in 4:30:36. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) and Mirko Celestino (Milram) finished second and third, respectively.
From the start, the pace was fast. The field, however, stayed together during the early stages. At about 60 km, 14 riders got clear and forged a 30-second lead, but Cofidis brought them back.
At 81 km, Luca Mazzanti (Androni Giocattoni) and Raivis Belohvosciks (Universal Caffe) escaped, and Roberto Petito (Tenax) and Belohvosciks?s teammate Vladimir Duma joined them at 96 km. At 131 km, the quartet led the field by 4:00. Milram and Liquigas, however, began to chase. At 179 km, the bunch caught the break at the base of the day?s last climb, the Superga.
After unsuccessful attacks by Leo Bertagnolli (Cofidis), Valerio Agnolli (Naturino), and Pellizotti, Dean Pidgorny (Tenax) escaped. Mauricio Soler (Acqua & Sapone) joined him, but Astarloa countered. Pellizotti joined the Spaniard, and by the top of the climb, the pair led a 20-man chase group by 0:20.
On the descent, Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) and Celestino attempted to bridge up to Astarloa and Pellizotti. At the base of the climb, with one km left, Ballan and Celestino were 0:05 behind the leaders. With 500 m left, Ballan and Celestino bridged up to the leaders, but Astarloa displayed the strength that made him world champion in 2003. The Spaniard took the sprint by more than a bike length.