What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tour du Picardie: Sbaragli brings in another top ten finish

Kristian Sbaragli gave MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung another top ten finish, and was 12th overall at the Tour de Picardie (May 10-12 / UCI 2.1), the first race for the South African Continental team run by Tour de France organizer ASO. The young Italian sprinter finished 15th, sixth and seventh in the three stages of the race held in northern France. In the final ranking, he was only 26 seconds behind overall winner Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano).

As in the previous stage, an escape group dominated much of the stage, which ran 171km between Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and Soissons, but they were caught before the end and this stage too ended in a mass sprint. Kittel took the stage win, as he did in the first stage, this time ahead of Kenny Van Hummel and Danny Van Poppel, both of Vacansoleil-DCM. The two stage wins were enough to give Kittel the overall title, with stage two winner Bryan Coquard (Europcar) second and Van Hummel third.

The three-day race, which has been held for more than 75 years, is traditionally one for the sprinters, and exposes the peloton to a lot of wind on the mostly flat terrain. While all three stages feature climbs, none are ranked, and as this year, all traditionally end in mass sprints.

Tour de Picardie (May 10-12 / UCI 2.1): Kristian Sbaragli (ITA), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Louis Meintjes (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA), Meron Russom (ERI), Sergio Pardilla (SPA), Dennis van Niekerk (RSA), Jacgues Janse van Rensburg (RSA)

Staff: Kevin Campbell (Directeur Sportif), Tarryn Grunewald (Soigneur), Yvonne Houweling (Soigneur), Casper Bester (Mechanic), Francesco (Mechanic)

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