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by Shane Stokes
April 18, 2018
Lopez wins stage 2 of the Tour of the Alps; Bonifazio wins stage 1 of the Tour of Croatia; Gasparotto eyeing success in Fléche Wallonne; Motivated McCarthy poised to make most of Flèche Wallonne opportunity; Armstrong doping doctors worked with Spanish national team; Enve release line of M Series mountain bike handlebars and stems; Video: Storm Chasing Paris–Roubaix; Video: 2018 Sequoia Cycling Classic P/1/2
Italian sprinters took four out of the top five slots on the opening stage of the Tour of Croatia on Tuesday, with Niccolo Bonifazio taking the top honours into Koprivnica. He edged out Andrea Guardini (Bardiani CSF), Romania’s Eduard Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini), Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team) and the rest of the main bunch.
The Bahrain-Merida rider consequently dons the first leader’s jersey in the race, as well as lands his first victory of the season. “It was a hard stage due to the heavy rain,” he said. “I hope to recover well for tomorrow to do another good sprint.”
The first stage began in Osijek and traced a largely flat 227 kilometre route. This was punctuated by the second category climb of Papuk some 82 kilometres into the stage, but the day’s break didn’t wait until those slopes. Instead, Umberto Poli (Team Novo Nordisk), Emil Dima (MsTina Focus), Matic Grošelj (Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum) and Jon Boži? (Adria Mobil) clipped away in the opening minutes and built a maximum lead of over five.
Bozic was the last to be caught, and was finally absorbed by the chasing bunch eight kilometres from the finish. Bonifazio won the tussle of the sprinters, but Guardini and others will try to get their revenge on Wednesday’s mainly flat stage to Zadar.