The Trofeo Almar was in its first edition in the U23 Nations Cup. Taking place on the scenic Lake Maggiore, the race went around a couple of the local towns as well as running up against two other lakes in the nearby area, Monate and Commabio. With the steep, partially cobbled Tainenberg climb punctuating the race and a flat finish, it provided the usual drama for a big Italian one-day.@GianniMoscon vince il "Trofeo Almar Nations' Cup" #TRALMAR @TrofeoBinda (© foto: F. Ossola) pic.twitter.com/uyFIvwxk5a— Il Pedale Rosa (@IlPedaleRosa) July 26, 2015
Cutting to the chase, it was a breakaway of seven riders that had taken the race by the scruff of the neck going into the final couple of laps. Home rider Lorenzo Rota (Italy) was joined by Mikhel Raim (Estonia), Lennard Hofstede (Netherlands), Jonas Koch (Germany), Evgeny Zherkov (Russia), Jeremy Maison (France) and Galym Akhmetov (Kazakhstan).
Out of a chasing group on the final lap, Gianni Moscon (Italy) and Laurens De Plus (Belgium) launched on the final passage of the Tainenberg. The duo, include one of the brightest one-day talents and the stage racing sensation of the season, stormed up to the leading group and with 5 kilometers to go, they made the junction. Rota was in full teammate mode while Moscon was winding up for the inevitable sprint on the flat run in to the finishing town of Angera.
As he did in the Italian U23 RR and in San Vendemiano, Moscon was the strongest in the sprint and easily bettered Raim and Hofstede while De Plus took 4th. In the sprint behind, it was Raim's Estonian teammate Martin Laas who took the sprint for 9th to allow Estonia to grab more Nations Cup Points
Moscon is going on to Team SKY as a stagiaire later this season followed by a two-year neo-pro deal. While it could be a big setback as SKY isn't necessarily known for their bevy of one day racers, Moscon could buck the trend. Maybe. If pigs fly.
Italy takes the top spot in the Nations Cup rankings by 12 points over Norway and 13 over Denmark. The Netherlands vaulted from 17th to 11th with Hofstede's performance while Great Britain fell from 5th to 8th after not participating.
The next Nations Cup event will be in roughly two weeks on August 9th when the European U23 RR Championships descend onto Tartu, Estonia. The Estonians, currently in 9th place in the Nations Cup rankings, will be hungry for a good result.