Our compatriot Xandro Meurisse was the best in the Giro del Veneto (1.1 race). The Alpecin-Fenix rider surprisingly took the pace of home rider Matteo Trentin and the rest of the onrushing peloton in the sprint. Immediately also the first international victory for the 29-year-old West Fleming.
Eight little-known early breakaways led for a large part of the 168 kilometers between Cittadella and Padova, but more than 40 kilometers before the finish they were again grabbed by the peloton. After that it rained attacks. UAE Team Emirates and Astana-Premier Tech were very active, but also Belgium’s Alpecin-Fenix, which sent Xandro Meurisse into the attack twice.
At attempt two, Meurisse, Matteo Trentin and Jhonatan Restrepo, got two faster escape companions on paper, and a chasing group came up dangerously close, but Meurisse still pulled the longest on the line. He took the sprint in front of the Italian Trentin and his compatriot Alberto Dainese, who went over Restrepo in the sprint of the pursuers.
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“I apologized to Trentin for the ‘gap’ I dropped with Restrepo going into the last kilometer, forcing the Italian to close the gap. Sports director Gianni Meersman had briefed me that I had to start the sprint in Trentin’s wheel. I was also able to play, because in the group that were chasing us, we had our sprinter Sbaragli and Ben Tulett. I also know from myself that I can get along quite well in the sprint of a small group. See the Tour from two years ago in which I took some places of honor. I am especially happy that I have been at my level since the Tour de Suisse. At the beginning of the season, I was still too bothered by the after-effects of my corona infection that I picked up last year. It can only get better next year.”
Because a group of about thirty followed only a handful of meters from the three refugees, Matteo Trentin opted for a long sprint. And that proved fatal to him. “Meurisse was just stronger than me in the sprint, it was that simple”, grumbled the unfortunate Matteo Trentin. The Italian from UAE Emirates had reasons to not understand it anymore in Padua. He has been in excellent form since the Vuelta, but except for the Trofeo Matteoti, that only resulted in the ex-European champions having places of honour. He was also second in the Coppa Agostoni on Monday. “It’s like the devil is involved, that I just can’t win anymore. I’ll try again on Sunday in the Veneto Classic.”
Roger De Vlaeminck
Xandro Meurisse is only the second compatriot to win this race. So far Roger De Vlaminck was the only one. He won 47 years ago. The Tour of Veneto was the last road race on the Alpecin-Fenix program. The team achieved no less than 33 victories at UCI level this road season, which means that the ProTeam of the Roodhoofts is quantitatively better than even UAE Team Emirates. For Meurisse himself it was the first UCI victory of the season, although he won the Geraardsbergen fair race earlier this year.