Italy's Sonny Colbrelli defied wind, rain to win the Gran Piemonte semi-classic

Milan (AFP) - Italian Sonny Colbrelli of the Bahrain-Merida team defied the wind and rainy conditions to win a sprint finish for the Gran Piemonte semi-classic in northern Italy on Thursday.

The heavy rain made conditions treacherous with falls leaving the peloton depleted as it approached the finish line at Stupinigi outside Turin after the 191km race.

Colbrelli made a break with 350 metres to go clocking a final time of 4hrs 20min 50sec ahead of France’s Florian Senechal(Quick-Step Floors) and Italian Davide Ballerini (Androni) who finished second and third respectively at the same time.

“I couldn’t have hoped for a better way to close my season, exactly with a victory like it started in Dubai,” said 28-year-old Colbrelli.

“I like bad weather. When I had space, I launched the long sprint and I thought ‘I’m going to take a chance’. The most important thing before the sprint was to not slip.

“It was very dangerous, there were crashes, but when it’s wet, it’s always like that.”

The cycling season concludes on Saturday with the Tour of Lombardy – nicknamed the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ – the final of the five Momument classics, from Bergamo to Como in northern Italy.

Results

1. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/Bahrain-Merida) 4:20:50, 2. Florian Senechal (FRA/Quick-Step Floors) same time, 3. Davide Ballerini (ITA/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) s.t., 4. Jhonatan Restrepo (COL/Katusha-Alpecin) s.t., 5. Riccardo Minali (ITA/Astana Pro Team) s.t.