Mihaylov seals Sibiu Cycling Tour win
– Viganò wins on the Piața Mare
Nikolay Mihaylov is the winner of the 2016 Sibiu Cycling Tour. The 28-year old Bulgarian, riding for CCC Sprandi Polkowice, had no problems defending his overall lead on Sunday's final stage which finished in a sprint won by Italian Davide Viganò from Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec. Mihaylov took the yellow jersey with a win at the climb to Păltiniş on day three and defended it on the slopes of the climb to Bâlea Lac the day after. Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) finished second ahead of his Italian countryman Alex Turrin (Unieuro Wilier) in third. Just like last year, Serghei Țvetcov (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) won the red jersey for the best Romanian rider in the Sibiu Cycling Tour.
Looking back on the race
The 2016 edition of the race started on Wednesday with a prologue in the Old Town of Sibiu, won by Andrei Nechita (National Team Romania). The first ever Romanian stage winner in the history of the Sibiu Cycling Tour couldn't defend his lead on the following sprint stage, where stage winner Steele von Hoff (ONE Pro Cycling) took the yellow leader's jersey. The Australian's race lead lasted only one day as well, though. When the race headed into the mountains the stage after, it was Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) who celebrated a surprise victory from a breakaway on the climb to Păltiniş, and the Bulgarian was able to defend his comfortable lead in the general classification on the Transfăgărășan Road in the stage 3 mountain time trial won by Kirill Pozdnyakov (Synergy Baku Cycling Project).
The final stage
Even though the general classification was more or less settled before the final day, Sunday's stage was anything but a procession with no less than five mountain sprints to be held on the 19 km circuit around Poplaca, another one in Slimnic close to the finish, and the blue jersey for the best sprinter still on the line in the three intermediate sprints. Daniel Crista took the early opportunity to manifest that jersey in his Tuşnad Cycling Team and won the first sprint after only 6 km race, making it impossible for anyone to challenge him over the remainder of the stage.
A breakaway of three riders was established quickly then, but they could never extend their gap to more than five minutes due to the high pace in the peloton. Reason for that was not only the interest of the sprinters' teams to keep their chances for a stage win in Sibiu, but also the fact that Daniel Turek (Cycling Academy Team), placed fifth in the general classification, was one of the three riders to join the breakaway. So the Unieuro Wilier team of third-placed Alex Turrin organized the chase in the peloton, keeping Turek and his breakaway companions Gianfranco Zilioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Marco Tizza (D'Amico Bottecchia) on a short leash.
The three worked together very well and contested the mountain sprints among each other. At the end of the Poplaca circuits Turek dropped back as he had secured his green jersey for the best climber in the race and a special prize for the best rider on five ascents up to Poplaca. Although the threat to the overall podium was now gone, the remaining two riders in front didn't get enough room to contest the win. On the last climb of the day Zilioli gave it a final go and dropped Tizza, but his gap was not big enough to stay in front any further than to the top of the hill with 10 km to go. Several riders tried to attack on that climb, but with Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec taking over in the peloton no one could get a significant gap.
After a fast downhill the sprinters' teams positioned their fast men on the last five kilometres through the outskirts of Sibiu. The final kilometre was quite technical: The final 400 metres were cobbled, the first 200 metres of which rise gently into the Old Town, passing under the Podul Minciunilor to arrive on the Piața Mică before going through a narrow gateway onto the Piața Mare for the finish. Here Davide Viganò launched his sprint early on the cobbled climb, and nobody was able to pass him. Matteo Malucelli (Unieuro Wilier) and Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) rounded out the podium. With his stage victory, Viganò also won the white points jersey. Marco Tecchio (Unieuro Wilier) defended the orange jersey for the best U23 rider.
Davide Viganò said after the stage: “This was the perfect final for me, uphill and on cobbles. The team believed in my strength and worked for me all day, so I just couldn't come second again. I'm happy to take my second win of the season at the Sibiu Cycling Tour.”
Overall winner Nikolay Mihaylov commented: “The break consisted of only three riders and was easy to control. Later on we got help from the sprinters' teams, so it wasn't a hard day for us. Ahead of the race, it wasn't planned that I would stand on the top step of the podium – but I have some experience with large breakaways where nobody wants to commit to the chase. And it worked out great for me this week.”
Daniel Crista was the first Romanian to win a classification jersey in the Sibiu Cycling Tour that wasn't the red jersey restricted to local riders. He said: “I won the first sprint today, after that it was clear that nobody could pass me as I had won for sprints in total. I just had to get to the finish. It's a big success for our team to win a jersey at a Romanian race.”
After going into the break on all three road stages, Daniel Turek was exhausted, but happy after the podium ceremony: “I sprinted for the mountain points on the first climb, but went too early and was passed by two other riders who wanted to get into the breakaway. We had a gap on the top and just kept going. For me, today was the hardest day of the race, and after the circuits I dropped back to the peloton and just wanted to hide there. I went hard in the beginning and didn't feel good after that, so even in the peloton I was having trouble. But I got to the finish, and with the mountain jersey, a special prize and the fifth place overall I made most of these five days.”
1 Davide Viganò (ITA) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 3:14:11
2 Matteo Malucelli (ITA) Unieuro Wilier 0:00
3 Eduard Grosu (ROU) Nippo-Vini Fantini 0:00
Overall podium 2016 Sibiu Cycling Tour
1 Nikolay Mihaylov (BUL) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 13:35:57
2 Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 4:33
3 Alex Turrin (ITA) Unieuro Wilier 5:35
2016 Sibiu Cycling Tour jersey winners
Nikolay Mihaylov (BUL) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
Daniel Crista (ROU) Tușnad Cycling Team
Daniel Turek (CZE) Cycling Academy Team
Marco Tecchio (ITA) Unieuro Wilier
Serghei Țvetcov (ROU) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
Davide Viganò (ITA) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
The full results can be downloaded here.