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Cadel Evans Wins a Sprint! Settimana Coppi e Bartali

Italy_medium Cadel Evans won a sprint. Has this ever happened before? Evans says no. "I believe in truth that this is the first time I have won a race in a sprint," he said after the stage. Evans won the final day of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali ahead Damiano Cunego and Giovanni Visconti. Cunego won the general classification for the second time (his first came in 2006).

Today, the riders faced the hardest stage of the race, with three trips up the Monte Babbio, then three trips up the Monte Gibbio, "la Redoute del Modenese" with 200 meters of elevation in 1.9 kilometers, and a maximum gradient of 18%. After 37 kilometers, a group of eight escaped the main field, and built up a maximum advantage of 2.20.

The real race began with the first ascent of the Monte Gibbio. Attacking from the break, Sylvester Szmyd of Liquigas and Christopher Froome of Barloworld tried their luck on the early slopes of the climb. With two more trips up the climb to go, the main field caught Froome and Szmyd. Next, came the turn of Filippo Savini of CSF-Navigare and Enrico Rossi of Ceramica Flaminia to attack. With 30 kilometers to ride, they held an advantage of 25 seconds.

Columbia-High Road went to the front and helped bring back the escape, and with 10 kilometers to go and one more trip of the Monte Gibbio, it was gruppo compacto. On the climb, Christian Pfannberger of Team Katusha again showed his good form and made the first attack. Damiano Cunego soon followed, and crossed the summit of the climb second with Josè Serpa and Cadel Evans not far behind. On the descent, Giovanni Visconti joined the group of four, while behind Christian Pfannberger of Katusha, Morris Possoni of Columbia-High Road, Domenico Pozzovivo of CSF-Navigare, Robert Kiserlovski (best young rider) of Amica Chips Knauf, Giampaolo Caruso of Ceramica Flaminia, and Massimo Giunti of Miche Silver Cross chased. With 2 kilometers to ride, the four became ten.

At the kilometer to go banner, Josè Serpa tried to anticipate the sprint, but the others were having none of it. A sprint decided the winner from the group of ten. Giovanni Visconti went first, but too early. Afterwards he said, "I wanted to win. And maybe I wanted it too much." Cunego went wide to the right, to avoid hitting a photographer. Evans took the win. The win marked the first victory for team Silence-Lotto this season. Evans declared himself "contento" with the victory.

In the general classification, Cunego successfully defended his lead ahead of Cadel Evans, who finished 24 seconds down. Cunego is happy with his form, so far, and with how the race has gone. He is "tranquilo" about the upcoming races. Cunego will head to the Vuelta Pais Vasco, before attacking the Ardennes races, Amstel Gold, La Flèche-Wallone, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Cadel Evans, Giovanni Visconti, and Christian Pfannberger are also headed to the Ardennes and look to be building good form for the hilly Wallone races.

Below the fold, the stage results and the final general classification.

Stage Result
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) in 4h19'41"
2. Damiano Cunego s.t
3. Giovanni Visconti s.t
4. Christian Pfannberger (Aut) s.t
5. Massimo Giunti s.t
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) s.t
7. Josè Serpa Perez (Col) a 4"
8. Morris Possoni a 9"
9. Domenico Pozzovivo s.t.
10. Giampaolo Caruso s.t.

General Classification
1. Damiano Cunero in 18h48'10" (media 41,212 km/h)
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) a 24"
3. Massimo Giunti a 38"
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) a 40"
5. Giovanni Visconti a 1'01"
6. Domenico Pozzovivo a 1'17"
7. Morris Possoni a 1'20"
8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) a 1'29"
9. Juan Hernandez Soler (Col) a 1'41"
10. Giampaolo Caruso a 1.43"

Sources, tuttobiciweb and Gazzetta dello Sport.