With riders standing on the start-line in the pouring rain and temperatures not much more than a few degrees above zero, it was always going to be a really tough race. 2 riders broke away early on, who were then later joined by a third escapee. In the treacherous conditions though, their gap pretty much remained at 30 seconds for most of the day.


Lampre-Merida did most of the control work from the peloton before they decided to become active on the 2nd last lap of 34km's. Bardiani and our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were the two teams who would respond to the moves of Lampre. The break was quickly caught when the attacking started and a new dangerous 5 rider move went clear with 1.5 laps to go. Our Basque rider, Omar Fraile was part of the attack which also included Ulissi, Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) and Damiano Cunego (Nippo).

The 5 aggressors rode away to a 30 second lead before eventually being caught at the foot of the final 2 climbs of the day. There were then numerous attacks over these last 2 climbs which came with just 14km to go before the final descent to the line. Ulissi, Colbrelli and Pantano got away on the final climb and Fraile and Anton were part of a select chase group just behind the leading trio.

As the leaders descended onto the finishing straight, the chasers just about made contact and then the sprint opened up. With a few meters head start on the rest, Cobrelli took the win. Fraile and Anton did well to show they were two of the strongest riders on the day by finishing 7th and 9th respectively.

It was a very hard day, raining and only 3 degrees Celsius all day. My sensations weren't too good in the cold but in the end I had some strength to make the important selections. In the final sprint I had nothing left to give, the cold had taken everything from me. I can feel I am close to where I need to be. Omar Fraile - Rider

The day started off with Jay Thomson waking up ill, and so unfortunately he could not take the start. With Jay set to ride Paris-Nice in the coming weeks it was not worth the risk. The plan for the race was to ride for Omar and Natnael Berhane and then also to see how Kristian Sbaragli was going. The main racing started when Ulissi attacked with 2 laps to go. Omar rode across with a few other guys. Androni then pulled it back together. Omar and Igor then went away again on the last lap, with the same group of guys and it was clear they were strongest group on the day. Kristian was really good today and he almost made it back to the select group, on a normal day without weather like this it would have been a different race. In all, it was a good tough race for the boys and we can be happy with the way we rode. Oli Cookson - Sport Director