With the peloton chasing down the first breakaway attempts, Rosskopf eventually formed part of a four-rider move that was able to extend a six-minute advantage in the first half of the hilly 187-kilometer race, which featured 3000 meters of elevation.
Strong cooperation in the group saw their advantage hold steady until the peloton picked up the pace, reducing the gap to three minutes inside the final 50 kilometers, by which stage Callum Scotson (MTS) had abandoned the race to leave the breakaway one rider short.
Rosskopf forged on, putting in an attack with 15 kilometers to go in an attempt to extend the breakaway’s narrow advantage over the reduced peloton, which was gaining quickly approaching the finale.
Pressure from the peloton saw Rosskopf and Mikkel Honore (DQT) caught with 8.5 kilometers to go, by which stage the group had halved in size but featured the solid CCC Team representation of Geschke, Valter, and Alessandro De Marchi.
An attack from George Bennett (TJV) on the penultimate climb split the field and behind, a six-rider chase group featuring De Marchi and Valter, trailed by ten seconds.
Valter led the chase but lack of cooperation in the group saw De Marchi launch an attack to try and go clear while behind, the chasing groups merged which saw Geschke reunited with his teammates.
Bennett managed to stay away, narrowly holding off the chasers including Geschke, who sprinted to fifth place, and Valter, who rounded out the top ten in his debut at the race.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Obviously my legs were good today and I’m very happy to have finished in the front of a race again after Strade Bianche and Tour de Pologne were not totally what I hoped for. Overall, it was a hard race but we were always present in the final and in the race in general. With Joey in the break and also in the final with De Marchi and Valter, we played our cards well and had some good teamwork from all of our guys. I think like we can be confident in having a good race also on Saturday at Il Lombardia.
After Tour de Pologne and a long travel I felt really sleepy today, and actually I didn’t wanted to start at all. The legs were working perfectly but my mind needed time to get on race mode. Kilometer after kilometer it got better and when we arrived to the last lap, I still felt fresh and somehow ready to race. I gave it all on the second to last climb and made it into a very small selection. After the heat all day, it was raining in the last downhill but thankfully nothing happened. I tried to go for Alessandro in the final kilometers and chase Bennett. After the second small group caught us, I had a minute to breathe a bit and gave it all in the final kilometer which gave me my first top 10 result after the restarted season. Now I’m on to my first monument, Il Lombardia!
So far I’m feeling better at each consecutive race, so that’s really encouraging. I thought we may need a couple more bodies up there in the breakaway to really have a good chance of staying away, but the three of us who remained on the last lap were still able to speed up a bit and give it a shot. As always, it’s a rewarding and motivating experience for me when I manage to get up the road, so I’ll keep trying!
Santo Stefano Bello > Barolo (187km)
Top 3: 1. George Bennett (Team Jumbo-Visma), 2. Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates), 3. Mathieu van Der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)
CCC Team top 3: 5. Simon Geschke, 10. Attila Valter, 19. Alessandro De Marchi