Dubai: UAE Team Emirates rider Diego Ulissi battled for a podium finish on the brutally hard uphill finish at the Giro dell’Emilia (1.Pro) late on Tuesday.
With Astana Pro Team rider Aleksandr Vlasov pressing on to win by nine seconds from Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Joao Almeida, it was Ulissi beating Team Ineos rider Eddie Dunbar to third place, a further nine seconds back.
Vlasov launched a searing attack on the final haul up the climb of San Luca above Bologna after punching his way clear of an elite group of contenders with 1.5km of the portico-lined ascent remaining.
Andrea Bagioli, who had helped to tee up teammate Almeida’s earlier attack, took fifth ahead of Il Lombardia winner Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo).
Held from Casalecchio di Reno San Luca over 199.7 kms, the UAE Team Emirates Italian rider went into the race in good form, coming in after an eighth place at Il Lombardia and second in Gran Piemonte during the previous week.
“I gave my best today, even though I found myself drifting and coming back to the group at times. I tried to keep a consistent effort for the whole race, especially when it got hard,” Ulissi said after the race.
“In the final, I used all my remaining strength on the last climb, giving my best and earning a spot on the podium,” he added.
Ulissi and his Italian teammates from UAE Team Emirates will now turn their attention to the Italian National Championships that is scheduled to take place on August 23 (Sunday) with a lap from Bassano del Grappa to Cittadella over a distance of 254 kms.
Meanwhile, in France, Rui Costa was 11th after Stage 1 of the Tour du Limousin (2.1). The recently crowned Portuguese road race champion finished in a reduced group on the undulating parcours from Couzeix to Evaux-Les-Bains held over a distance of 183.5 kms.
The stage was won by Italian Luca Wackermann (Vini-Zabu) in a late solo attack, approaching 2 kms from the finish. Wackermann now leads the overall with Costa in sixth place and 16 seconds apart.
Stage 2 in Limousin will take the riders from Base Départementale de Rouffiac to Grand Etang de Saint-Estèph over a 173.9 kms in a finale peppered with hills which could favour the puncheurs.
Giro dell’Emilia Results: 1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) 4:59:38; 2. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck Quickstep) @9”; 3. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) @18”.