Trofeo Almar

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)

102 cyclists registered to participate in the “U23 Nation’s Cup”. Presentation of the teams on Saturday afternoon in Sesto Calende

102 cyclists registered to participate in the “U23 Nation’s Cup”. Presentation of the teams on Saturday afternoon in Sesto Calende

One hundred and two riders have registered for the second edition of the Coppa dei Laghi / Trofeo Almar – U23 Nation’s Cup which will take place on Sunday 31 July on the Lombardy banks of Lake Maggiore. Seventeen countries, each with a team of six riders, will compete in the race that was won last year by the Italian champion, Gianni Moscon, in an unforgettably jubilant finale. Following the unofficial start in Taino, the group will make their way to Sesto Calende for the official start. Then it’s on to Angera to begin four laps of a 37 km circuit covering Taino, Osmate, Comabbio, Mercallo, Oneda and Sesto Calende. Finally, there will be one last shorter lap, making up a total of 180 km. The cobblestoned Tainenberg, that characterises the race, must be faced five times.

After four races, Norway lead with France on equal points (76), United Kingdom is third (59), Denmark fourth (40), Slovenia fifth (39), Italy sixth (32), Belgium seventh (28), Russia eighth (22), Switzerland ninth (21) and United States tenth (18). While waiting to see the best under-23 cyclists in the world at work in such an important challenge as the Nation’s Cup, the organisers are taking care of every single detail to ensure that everybody enjoys this cycling weekend. On Saturday 30 July, the official presentation of the participating teams will take place in Sesto Calende, in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi. (Photo F.Ossola)

Teams will be presented in the following order:
18.33 – AUSTRIA
18.36 – RUSSIA
18.39 – UKRAINA
18.42 – ESTONIA
18.54 – MAROC
18.57 – POLAND
19.00 – SLOVENIA
19.06 – JAPAN
19.09 – GERMANY
19.12 – BELGIUM
19.15 – FRANCE
19.18 – ITALY