A tactical finale sees a select group of seven arrive to the finish to contest the win
Toms Skujins won the mid-week Italian classic Tre Valli Varesine, outsprinting a select group of seven riders at the finish to take one of the biggest wins of his career.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) led out the sprint, but Skujins played it perfectly, waiting until the final 150 meters to kick into high gear. He had enough to come around the Frenchman and took the win by over a bike length.
“It’s definitely one of the bigger wins of my career, for sure,” said Skujins at the finish. “I do love racing in Italy, and it’s a nice race to get on my palmarès.”
Skujins, who is showing fantastic late-season form and was instrumental in Bauke Mollema’s win in GP Beghelli Sunday, was again present in all the key moves late in the race – a highly aggressive and tactical finale, an ending tailored to his strengths.
“I definitely knew it was going to be aggressive, and that’s why we had three guys saved for the final to make the race exciting,” explained Skujins. “The only reason I attacked in the first place was because Gianluca (Brambilla) got on the radio and said ‘Toms you should go for it.'”
With just over 25 kilometers remaining, Trek-Segafredo had Nicola Conci, Gianluca Brambilla and Toms Skujins in the vastly reduced bunch. Conci was the first to accelerate on a climb and soon after Skujiins followed the counterattack by Matthias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale) that also drew out Rob Power of Mitchelton-Scott.
“At first we were three, and then more guys came up, and at the finish, we were 7 or 8 or something, and luckily I won the sprint,” continued Skujiins. “The team was really strong again; this was another result for the team, same as Sunday when Bauke (Mollema) won. Today as well we had guys represented in every move, and we had guys earlier really taking care of us. Me, Gianluca (Brambilla) and Nicola (Conci) were ready to make the final exciting.”
Gianluca Brambilla finished off the stellar teamwork for Trek-Segafredo, arriving with the second group 13 seconds later and sprinting to 10th place.
Below: Toms Skujiņš – post-race interview – Tre Valli Varesine 2018