In progress// Photo credit: @ Veneto Classic

Battistella and Pozzato, those winning bets

Great success for the first Veneto Classic, solo victory for Samuele who, just a stone’s throw from home, scored his first professional win. Hirschi and Restrepo on the podium.

A new winner for a new race, Samuele Battistella finds the baptism of his professional palmarès in the Veneto Classic, in an extraordinary coincidence of firsts, that of the raised arms of the 2019 Under-23 World Champion and that of a race that from today is an active part of the UCI international calendar. The 22-year-old Astana-Premier Tech rider took his first joy on his home roads since joining the major cycling teams, and he took the victory by gritting his teeth and pouring litres of sweat into the strenuous and spectacular defence of a margin that was at times very small, but which he held until the finish line, for a day that the young man from Castelfranco will hardly forget.

As for the race, its inventor Pippo Pozzato was also blessed with the (well-deserved) luck of a beautiful sunny day in which the images of Venice or the Prosecco hills or the Ponte Vecchio in Bassano could be seen around the world in all their splendour, and it can be said without a shadow of a doubt that the former golden boy of Italian cycling won his bet across the board. There were plenty of spectators, a good show during the race, climbs destined to become part of the cycling imagination (the Tisa Wall, in cobblestones) and a position on the calendar which could already be perfect as it is (if there are more Italian races around the time), or which in any case (see the example of the Strade Bianche, the first edition of which was held in October) could be rearranged in the coming years as required. We say “the next few years” because we are not considering the hypothesis that this race has no future ahead of it.

From Venice to Bassano del Grappa for 206. 5 km with many nice climbs especially in the final part of the route, the first breakaway in the history of the Veneto Classic started at km 25 with Peter Rikunov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Luca Pajek (Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang), Matteo Zurlo (Zalf Euromobil Fior), Lorenzo Visintainer (General Store Essegibi), Federico Burchio (Work Service Marchiol) and Simone Bevilacqua (Vini Zabù), then at km 35 was joined by Paolo Totò (Amore&Vita-Prodir) and so we completed the tally of seven men who have characterized most of the race with an action that came to have up to 3’21 “advantage at km 75.

The margin hovered around the three-minute mark for a while, and then UAE-Emirates predictably took the race into their own hands (or legs?). ); the first passage over the Muro della Tisa at minus 60 scattered the breakaway group (Bevilacqua was the first to pass, then Zurlo attempted a counter-attack on the descent) but also the group behind, with Matteo Trentin (UAE) forcing his way clear of team-mate Davide Formolo, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits).

The situation, both in front and behind, was more or less recomposed soon, after all the cobbled wall was very hard, but ended quickly (only a few hundred meters long); just Totò remained detached from the leading group, while behind (with a gap now down to 1’20”) the peloton was thinning with many returns. It was, however, just the first thrill of a race that would offer many more. On a ramp at -56 Marco Tizza (Amore&Vita) came out of the group and remained for a while in the middle of the road. Shortly after, at -52, Bevilacqua pulled over at the edge of the road, escaping from the breakaway (and being overtaken also by the group): physical problems for him.

At -50 Riccardo Verza (Zalf) and Jonas Rapp (Hrinkow) proposed another counterattack from the platoon and in short time they arrived on the outriders, but by then the group was at a step; anyway Rapp was still able to stretch on the second passage from Tisa, at -46, but he was overtaken on the top by Zurlo; meanwhile Trentin brought back on the other fugitives the vanguard of the group, and then at -43 all (about twenty) on the two outriders. The race began again, with all the weak or exhausted legs, just before the second of the four passages on the Rosina.

A few more came back before the climb began at -36, but already at -40 a new attempt inspired by Trentin and answered by Samuele Battistella (Astana) and the already active Verza. The new trio took the Rosina with an advantage of about fifteen seconds, and here Verza immediately lost contact, but on the other hand Guillaume Martin left the group again, followed by Cristian Scaroni (Gazprom), Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) and the other Cofidis rider Rémi Rochas. Andrea Piccolo (Italian National Team) was the last to join him, and all the five counter-attackers reached Verza at 20″ from Trentin and Battistella: with this configuration there was the breakaway at -34.

On the next wall of Contrà Soarda at -30 Scaroni proposed a short sprint between the counterattackers, who in the meantime were reached by a second group; the fact remained that the leading pair continued to defend to the bitter end those 20″. And it was a margin destined to increase, because behind, between the waning forces and the companions of the outriders, there was almost no one to pull: just the two Cofidis present, but in a rather episodic way. At -25 Albanese tried another sortie but he didn’t make too much way; recovered the Salerno’s rider, at -24 Martin tried again but he tickled the flies; the coup de théâtre, however, would have been reserved to Trentin at -22, on the third Rosina: a moment of distraction and Matteo rolled with Battistella, going heavily down and abandoning so the dreams of victory.

After getting up, the rider was caught and immediately put himself at the service of Diego Ulissi, pulling the Livorno-based rider, Jhonatan Restrepo (Androni-Sidermec) and Rochas to catch Martin at the top of the climb. Absent, somewhat surprisingly, was Alexey Lutsenko (Astana). Battistella, very good, had defended the half minute with which he had started the climb, but for him things did not look like a walk in health: left alone, the tactical scenario was not the best for the 22 year old of Castelfranco Veneto, who perhaps would have preferred to do at least another stretch of road with a companion of action, and especially would have preferred to have a pursuer less …

Other returns on the descent (Lutsenko, Formolo with the other UAE Marc Hirschi, Piccolo, Scaroni and Lorenzo Rota of Intermarché-Wanty), a small mechanical problem for Trentin at -17 on the wall of Contrà Soarda, the UAE always busy (now especially with Roccia) to chase the lone hare, but always half a minute for the good Samuele, who even increased his margin on the level before the last attack to Rosina.

A supreme effort by Formolo made a certain difference on the last stretch before the fourth Rosina, limiting about ten seconds to the outriders, and when the climb began at -8.5 Rochas started strongly, and behind him went Lutsenko in the role of stopper. Battistella, at this point particularly weighed down, began to feel the breath of the chasers on his neck (only 10″ for an interminable break), who were also joined by Hirschi and Restrepo. At -7 Ulissi, Rota and Martin came back on the group, while Battistella overcame the most critical moment and managed to take back some seconds, going to the top at -7 with 20″.

At -6 a stretch of Restrepo on the descent called the new reaction of Lutsenko, who kept the Colombian in his sights; at -4 the last climb to Contrà Soarda, and Hirschi played all for everything with a shot all in lactic acid that threatened to start the credits on the beautiful and tenacious action of Battistella. The Swiss rider took Rochas and Lutsenko with him and climbed to within 3-4″ of Samuele, no more, the reunion seemed a done deal, but the descent put the wings back on the feet of the boy from home, and then behind the energies were not infinite, so take a second, In the meantime the metres passed one hundred at a time and the Astana rider was never caught up again, and then at a certain point he realised that it would be him and no one else who would raise his arms under that longed-for arrival banner.

With great merit Samuele won with 5″ over Hirschi, Restrepo and Lutsenko, with Rochas timed at 10″; at 27″ came Ulissi and Rota, Martin finished at 28″ and the top ten was completed by Piccolo and Scaroni at 54″. A nice end of season for Italian cycling, in every sense. See you in 2021, with an extra smile.


Veneto Classic. A race that wants to get big fast. Pippo Pozzato aims to make his Veneto Classic in the WorldTour in two or three years.

Today with the race start in St Mark’s Square in the heart of Venice creating one of the most spectacular race starts ever seen.

The route, with its 207 kilometres and 2450 metres of elevation gain, is full of hairpin bends and challenging sections. From the marvellous lagoon landscape, the riders will reach the heart of the Marca Trevigiana, where they will face the first asperity of Ca’ del Poggio. They will then pass through the province of Belluno, at the foot of the marvellous Dolomites, before descending to Possagno (TV), the birthplace of Canova and linked to his immortal work.

The bikes will then head towards the heart of the race, tackling the climb of the Rosina and the significant double passage on the wall of La Tisa in Colceresa (VI): a stone climb similar to cobblestones, 350 metres long and with gradients close to 20%. Always a natural gym for the great professionals of the classics, along the narrow climb, fans will be able to witness the exploits of their idols and support them in the double passage, sharing the fatigue.

The race continues towards the finish line, once again tackling the legendary Rosina climb in a triple passage. The Contrà Soarda break prepares the riders for the final rush, which will see Bassano del Grappa (VI) as the protagonist, a treasure trove of masterpieces by Palladio and Jacopo Bassano, as well as one of the symbols of the memory of the Great War: the Ponte Vecchio, under which the Brenta River flows, will be a national monument in 2019. Starting list @ procyclingstats


Alexey Lutsenko is the winner of the Serenissima Gravel, the first professional gravel bike race in the world!
@Serenissima Gravel

In front of the Palladian arches at Villa Contarini, at the end of 132 kilometres, 110 of which were gravel, covered in 3 hours and 24 minutes, the 29-year-old Kazakh rider was able to raise his arms and forks to the sky, preceding the sprint for second place by 42 seconds: Riccardo Minali outdistanced Nathan Haas and prevented the Astana double, with Davide Martinelli having to be content with fourth place.

Between bridges and waterways, in particular the river Sile, cycle paths and “heroic” dust, the 37 riders in the race (soon to become 36 due to the withdrawal of Fernando Barcelo) started at 12:42 from Jesolo and pedalled without radios and with tools worn by the riders themselves for any eventuality. And there was no shortage of punctures, such as the one that prevented Jakob Dorigoni from participating in the decisive actions. The peloton travelled compactly or in single file, depending on the width of the road, for around 40 kilometres. The jerseys of the two Italian Professionals in the race, Vini Zabù and Bardiani Csf Faizanè, were especially visible at the front, along with those of Astana.

Then, near Treviso, 15 men lost contact at the back and around the 50th kilometre the attack by Alexey Lutsenko began, who in the second half of the race found himself escaping from 20 men: two companions of the fugitive (Samuele Battistella and Davide Martinelli), two Cofidis (Attilio Viviani and Nathan Haas), two Bardiani Csf Faizanè (Enrico Zanoncello and Filippo Fiorelli), two Zalf Euromobil (Matteo Zurlo and Riccardo Verza) the full Vini Zabù (Davide Orrico, Marco Frapporti, Jan Petelin and Simone Bevilacqua), the Intermarché Wanty Gobert (Riccardo Minali, Kevin Van Melsen, Taco Van der Hoorn and Boy Van Poppel), Federico Zandri for the Work Service Marchiol, and three men of the national team of the c. t. Celestino (Luca Cibestino). t. Celestino (Luca Cibrario and the twins Luca and Daniele Braidot).

Having recovered while Frapporti, Lutsenko entered the final segment (an 11 km circuit in Piazzola sul Brenta, to be done three times) with a 1’48” advantage over the now 19 chasers. After a first lap in which he lost a minute, the outrider recovered and took the victory – or rather, the villa. In the meantime, behind him, the small group has shrunk, with many retirements, and there are 12 riders left to fight for the placings of honour in the sprint: Minali did a good job in exploiting the work of Van der Hoorn and Van Melsen.

Lutsenko, fresh winner of the Coppa Agostoni, is not new to certain solo exploits: remember for example his stage success last year at the Tour de France?

This unprecedented Serenissima Gravel has been a showcase for several youngsters from Veneto (from Minali to Battistella, from Zurlo to Bevilacqua and other current protagonists) and is part of a “Veneto triptych”, opened the day before yesterday by the Giro won by Meurisse on Trentin and that will end the day after tomorrow with the Classic that will close the 2021 cycling season in Italy.



After the Giro del Veneto on Wednesday with the arrival in Padua after nine years and won by Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) on Matteo Trentin, the second day of “Ride The Dreamland” will see in the foreground tomorrow a new and unique competition, the “Serenissima Gravel”, the first gravel race dedicated to professionals.

An off-road route that is a hymn to the beauty of nature in the Veneto region: the race will start in Jesolo, winding its way along 126.8 km, 110 of which on dirt tracks. The route, bathed by the sea in the first few kilometres, runs along the Greenway from Jesolo to Treviso and then continues on the Treviso-Ostiglia cycle path along the territory of the Sile Park, an area rich in history and culture surrounded by lush vegetation. The race will end in Piazzola sul Brenta, where the spotlight will turn on a circuit consisting of three laps of 11 km that will culminate in front of Villa Contarini, where the winner of a race destined to become part of the history of international cycling will be crowned.

Born from an idea of Jonny Moletta with Filippo Pozzato, the great novelty of this competition is the means of transport, the gravel, designed to cover long distances and make the off-road routes comfortable, high performance and fun at the same time. In recent years, gravel has become an increasingly important player in the world of two wheels. The data coming from the business of the sector say it, the interest from the amateur world is alive and growing. Starting next year, the UCI will create a calendar dedicated to gravel competitions with a dedicated world championship. This is an absolute novelty for the international cycling scene and Serenissima Gravel will pioneer this new chapter in the world of two wheels.

It wasn’t easy to fit the race into a busy calendar,” comments Jonny Moletta, “We had to bring great cycling to the Veneto and put the gravel race there. The manufacturers of both bikes and components are hungry for promotion, so we put ourselves at their disposal. “

The race format is also different, with two to four athletes per team and no two-way radios for communication. Riders will also be able to equip themselves with tools to repair their bikes if they are not in the designated service areas. At a time when cycling is hyper-technological, we wanted to return to the cycling of the early days,” says Jonny Moletta, “valuing the beauty of initiative and always putting the safety of cyclists first.

On Sunday there is the new Veneto Classic that crosses the hills of Treviso. It also passes through the Muro del Ca’ del Poggio where Alberto Stocco is preparing a great party for the newborn race on the Italian calendar. Organiser Filippo Pozzato wants to bring the race onto the World Tour circuit.



Meurisse wins Giro del Veneto

Photo Credit: © Alpecin-Fenix – PhotoNews

Belgian beats Trentin and Dainese in sprint. Full article by Stephen Farrand

🇮🇹 A Trentin proprio non va giù il dessert di stagione

Xandro Meurisse conquista il rinato Giro del Veneto battendo Matteo in una volata ristretta. Terzo posto per Alberto Dainese su Consonni, Covi e Albanese. By Marco Grassi


After 9 years returns today il Giro del Veneto. The riders will face several short, but punchy climbs in the middle, a reduced sprint finish is expected.

The peloton will set off at 12:00 from Piazza Duomo in Cittadella to arrive after 168 kilometres in the equally splendid setting of Prato della Valle in Padua. The route will start with 45 kilometres on flat terrains, where there will certainly be plenty of “battle” between those who want to breakaway. At 46.6 kilometres, the first ascent towards the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monte Berico is followed by the climb towards San Giovanni in Monte. Descent on Nanto along the “Strada degli Olivi” and entry into the circuit (21.3 km) of two laps with only some sections touched again in a third passages. At 135 kilometres, having passed the Bivio Fiorine for the third time, it turns towards the short climbs of Castelnuovo and, above all, towards Il Roccolo (1.9km at 9.9%). Then a descent to Galzignano Terme where the final 23 kilometre flat section begins. At 10 kilometres from the finish line the passage from Abano Terme before the very last stretch towards the conquest of Prato della Valle in Padua. The double passage (at 95.8 and 117.1 kilometres), strongly desired by the organisers, from Vo’ Euganeo is loaded with symbolic meaning: a true Veneto symbol of the fight against Covid, in the most acute phases of the pandemic.

Startlist @

The climbs


The official route of the Giro del Veneto has been unveiled, here the profiles of the three races organised by Filippo Pozzato and Jonny Moletta in Veneto:

Wednesday 13 October Giro del Veneto from Cittadella to Padua

Friday 15 October Serenissima Gravel from Jesolo to Piazzola sul Brenta along the Treviso-Ostiglia and Ciclovia del Brenta cycle paths.

Sunday 17 October the Veneto Classic, which should start in Venice and end in Bassano del Grappa.

Filippo Pozzato, the Italian former professional cyclist winner of Milano Sanremo and a Northern Classic specialist, has unveiled in an interview to Gazzetta dello Sport (9 March) his new project.

The former pro rider from Veneto who last year organised the Italian National Championship, he is now relaunching a new project.

Filippo Pozzato’s new project for 2021 is scheduled for mid-October, in the week after the Lombardia on 9 October, which will be the last “Monument” Classic of the season.

The 2021 of Pippo Pozzato and Jonny Moletta (VENTURO) will be a year of confirmation, after having organised the Italian National Championship in Cittadella in 2020. VENTURO is aiming for a poker of events whose start is scheduled for Wednesday 13 October, while the grand finale is for Sunday 17 October. The dates should soon be made official. There are four events scheduled: Giro del Veneto, a new classic, the Veneto Classic, to be included in the World Tour in the coming years, a Gran Fondo and a Gravel race for professionals.

The Giro del Veneto, won by Pippo Pozzato in 2009, has been a great Italian race with the names of Girardengo, Binda, Coppi, Magni, Bitossi, De Vlaeminck, Saronni, Moser, Argentin appearing in the winner’s list.

The former cyclist, supported by the President of the Region Luca Zaia, has declared his desire to create something new and modern in today’s cycling, without forgetting cycling historical values ​​and the roadside enthusiasts. “It is an idea that has been in our minds for two and a half years already. Veneto deserves a high level sponsorship. It is a region waiting to be discovered and which I recommend everyone to visit, what better advertisement than the bicycle? ” Pozzato said.

Pozzato has also inserted in the programme a Gravel race: «We wanted to follow this new trend of cycling enthusiasts. We thought: “why don’t we let the professionals race with gravel bikes?”. Think of a race with road, mountain bike and cyclocross professionals all together … “

And finally the Gran Fondo: «The Gran Fondo is the one that most of all will highlight the Veneto region. A race for amateurs allows us to bring many tourists here, who will surely come back. There is good food, good wine, fabulous cycling routes and much more. We are waiting for you all with open arms with the hope of not disappointing you! “

News in progress and CyclingDigest will keep you updated on the unfolding of this new exciting cycling project.