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The Under 23 Nation’s Cup speaks Russian. Alexander Kulikovskiy carried the day at the “Trofeo Almar”

The Under 23 Nation’s Cup speaks Russian. Alexander Kulikovskiy carried the day at the “Trofeo Almar”

Alexander Kulikovskiy (Russia) won the Trofeo Almar/Coppa dei Laghi, part of the Under 23 Nation’s Cup challenge, today in Angera in the province of Varese. In the final sprint, the Russian beat the group of top riders who, just 6 km from the finish line, caught up with French rider, Cosnefroy, who had been out on his own all day. Kulikovskiy outsprinted Dorian Godon from France, while Italian rider, Riccardo Minali took third place. The Italian seemed set to win after his national team and especially Davide Ballerini had put him in a position to cross the finish line victoriously. Unfortunately – explained Minali – in the last phase, I had problems with the gears and I did the final sprint in the wrong gear. I’m really sorry that my team’s work was in vain because of such a banal incident”.

As a junior, Alexander Kulikovskiy won the silver medal for road racing at the World Championships 2014 in Ponferrada. This year, he won the “Minsk Cup” and came fourth in the GP Minsk: “The last Tainenberg climb was the hardest – explained the winner but I stuck it out. Then on the last kilometre, there was a fall that didn’t affect me though. Four of us were left in the lead and the result was decided in the final metres.” Kulikovskiy has been living in Lonato in Italy for the last three months. He is a native of a small town near Sochi. (Photo F. Ossola)

The race

Much of the race was characterised by two cyclists; French rider, Benoit Cosnefroy and Slovenian, Jon Bozic, who went out on their own at km 24. They managed to accumulate a maximum advantage of over three minutes over their nearest rivals. They rode a courageous race, forcing the group to chase them all day. Their advantage dropped to below one minute and then started to open up again when they were within 60 km of the overall 180 km of the race.

Cosnefoy attacked again, 50 km from the finish line, in an attempt to break away from his companion who was reached by the group within a few kilometres. The Frenchman did not give up and continued on his way. Cosnefroy was on his own with the group over a minute behind him at 44 km from the finish. The chase to catch the fugitive ended during the last 20 km, mainly thanks to the work of the teams from Belgiium, Australia and Italy. The group was compact 6 km from the finish. Frenchman, Benoit Cosnefroy, who led the race for 150 km, got the loudest applause and the satisfaction of winning the King of the Mountains.

Ordine d’arrivo trofeo Almar/Coppa dei Laghi – Coppa delle Nazioni U23:
1. Alexander Kulikovskiy (Russia) km 180 in 4h8’50”
2. Dorian Godon (Francia)
3. Riccardo Minali (Italia)
4. Davide Ballerini (Italia)
5. Remy Mertz (Belgio)
6. Jasper De Laat (Olanda)
7. Aksel Nommela (Estonia)
8. Piet Allegaertt (Belgio)
9. Mateusz Grabis (Polonia)
10. Milan Menten (Belgio)