It was a small group that sprinted for the win in the 211-kilometer Grand Prix Cerami Wednesday with Philippe Gilbert (BMC) coming out on top, just edging out Trek Factory Racing’s Danny van Poppel who finished a close second.
Van Poppel explained how the race unfolded:
“Eugenio [Alafaci] and myself were in a large breakaway of 40 riders that was away for almost all the race. Then on the local circuits it was really hard because a breakaway of five riders went away. The other teams were pulling – (Etixx) QuickStep was pulling for Tom Boonen and also the Lotto (Soudal) guys.
“In the sprint we caught them and I was in Tom Boonen’s wheel and I came over him 100 meters before the finish and I thinking I was going to win. But then Gilbert came from behind and just beat me at the line.
“It was hard and I was very disappointed at first, but now I have had some time to think about it, and I am happy with the second place. It was a perfect finish for Gilbert, it was uphill and that is his specialty. So it’s not a shame to be second.”
With every team represented in the 42-man bunch that finally moved clear after repeated attempts were made to form a breakaway there was no incentive to chase behind, and it soon became apparent the winner would come from the large front group.
If you do [the sprint] again maybe he can win there, but that’s always what you can say afterwards that if I did this or that…we are very happy that Danny was second.