Mollema sprays more champagne in Italy

Bauke Mollema sprints to 2nd in GP Industria & Artigianato

Bauke Mollema has been red-hot in the early part of the 2021 season, adding another podium to his results with second place in the 43rd edition of GP Industria & Artigianato.

But he might like to have a sprint do-over. It was a close finish between the four leading men at the end of the 43rd edition of GP Industria & Artigianato and in a one-day race, after 193 kilometers had been covered, there is only one chance to get it right.

Bauke jumped first, leading out the sprint until the final meters when Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step) shot around to take the victory.  Mollema settled for second, often a hard result to digest when the win is so close.

“I felt pretty good today even after a hard race yesterday with Strade Bianche,” said Mollema. “It was a good group and I knew Vansevanant was quite fast, but I had a good chance to go for the win. In the sprint, perhaps I went a little bit too early; it was a hard sprint a bit uphill, and he passed me. I am a bit disappointed I didn’t win. It was close, but yeah, that’s what it is.”

Mikel Landa (Bahrain Merida) rounded out the podium with Nairo Quintana taking 4th.

Trek-Segafredo was again the aggressors in the finale of the race, softening up the bunch with breakaway attempts by Vincenzo Nibali and Giulio Ciccone.

The winning break formed on the final climb with four (Mollema, Landa, Vansevanant and  Quintana) splitting free from the rest of the reduced group, all that remained after numerous attacks on the hilly parcours.

A small group chased the quartet containing Vincenzo Nibali and Gianluca Brambilla, a good scenario for Trek-Segafredo if the four leaders were caught.

While one of the pursuers did make contact with the four leaders in the final 500 meters, it was a little too late, leaving him the 5th-place spoils ahead of Brambilla in 6th. Nibali arrived with the remnants of the chasers to give the team three in the top 10, a rightful showing after another commendable team effort.

GP Industria & Artigianato marked the completion of phase 1 of Mollema’s 2021 season, and he has exited with two wins and two second-place podiums, one of his best starts – and the rider who has accumulated the most UCI points since January 1.

“I knew I had a really good winter, and it was my goal to have good results in the start of the season. I have two wins and now another podium in the pocket and that shows the hard work of the winter has paid off,” added Mollema who now heads to a 15-day training camp in the Sierra Nevada to prepare for his first major goals, the Ardennes Classics followed by the Giro d’Italia.