Start/Finish: Milan/Turin, ITA
Distance: 186 kilometers
Turin, ITA — After breaking his collarbone on Stage 1 of the USA Pro Challenge in August, Team Novo Nordisk’s Nicolas Lefrançois returned to racing in top form by featuring in the main breakaway at Thursday’s Milano-Torino.
“Today was perfect for me as a comeback after crashing in Colorado,” Lefrançois said. “I worked so hard over the past one and a half months to be ready for these late season races. It’s a good day for me when at my first race back, I manage to spend over 160 kilometers off the front.”
In its 96th edition, the UCI 1.HC Milano-Torino is a late season semi-classic that features two demanding finishing climbs up the Colle di Superga before ending in front of the iconic Superga Basilica. Lefrançois and five riders escaped early into the 186-kilometer race. They quickly built a gap of over five minutes and held off the chasing peloton until the final 20 km of racing. Several teams worked to maintain control of the race but as it reached the Colle di Superga for the first time, Leopold Konig (Team Sky) attacked and only a reduced peloton was able to respond. New attacks quickly followed, but all were covered. When Diego Rosa (Astana Pro Team) attacked with three kilometers, no one was able to grab his wheel and the local Italian soloed to the win.
“I knew from the beginning that I felt good today, so after only a few kilometers, I decided to attack,” Lefrançois said. “We averaged 50 km/h for the first hour with all of us working really well together. We gave everything and hit the final lap still with a minute advantage. Unfortunately with so many World Tour teams working on the front, they brought us back.”
Results: Diego Rosa (Astana Pro Team) took the win 16 seconds ahead of Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) with Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) finishing in third.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, continues racing in Italy on Friday at the Giro del Piemonte. The 185-km race features two climbs up Alice Superiore and Prascorsano. Alice Superiore is seven kilometers in length and features gradients of 5 percent while Prascorsano is slightly shorter at four kilometers and has a 4 percent gradient.