Mohoric Wins CRO Race; Viviani Takes Final Stage

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10/2/2022| 0 comments
Elia Viviani sprints to victory in stage 6 of CRO Race 2022 for Team Ineos-Grenadiers
Elia Viviani (Team Ineos-Grenadiers) has won stage 6 of CRO Race 2022 ahead of Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) Pavlovic/KLPhoto

Mohoric Wins CRO Race; Viviani Takes Final Stage

Matej Mohoric dethrones race leader Jonas Vingegaard in final stage to take overall CRO Race win; Elia Viviani sprints to emotional stage victory

With Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard leading the 2022 CRO Race by a mere eight seconds before today’s final stage, the scene was set for fierce competition on the roads of Croatia where bonus seconds could determine the general classification winner.

Stage 6, the final stage of this year’s CRO Race, was a 158-kilometer ride on an almost flat route from Sveta Nedelja to Zagreb – the capital of the Republic of Croatia. Race organizers had chosen technical narrow roads and had added three category 3 hills and cobbled sections to the route to offer opportunities to split the peloton and make the race more interesting to spectators.

In today’s stage a five-man breakaway group was formed. The group featured Alex Catadord, Alex Martin, Jacopo Mosca, Timo Roosen, and Danny van der Tuuk. The breakaway hopefuls managed to build a two-minute lead on the peloton. Hoping to secure the overall race victory with Matej Mohoric, the Bahrain-Victorious team, however, did not allow the breakaway any larger advantage as it controlled the race speed at the front of the chasing peloton. The breakaway’s lead was reduced to 35 seconds, then increased to one minute, before the group was reeled in and the stage was set for a mass sprint across the finish line.

But it was not the Bahrain team that would emerge victorious in the contest for the stage victory. The Ineos-Grenadiers team had built a solid foundation for its sprinter Elia Viviani throughout the stage with strong performances from Omar Fraile, Kim Heiduk, and Michal Kwiatkowski, who were all hoping to help their Italian teammate take a second race win in an otherwise difficult 2022 season for the professional cyclist.

Viviani won the sprint across the finish line in powerful fashion ahead of Mohoric and Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO-Kometa) and was especially happy with today’s victory.

“This win means a lot. When you are a sprinter and you don’t win for a long time, the next win is always really important. I really hope to end the season in the best way possible and give some wins to my team."

"Today we really committed for a bunch sprint. We looked this morning at last year’s edition of the stage and we were worried about some attacks in the last lap. We knew Mohoric needed to attack if he wanted to win the general classification. Once on the circuit we knew if we got in front and we kept our position it was the best way to approach it. Then my teammates did even better. After the climb we committed again and my teammates did what I think is the best leadout of the year,” Viviani explained.

It has been a very difficult season for Viviani who returned to the Ineos-Grenadiers team this season after a four-year stint with the QuickStep and Cofidis teams. “It’s just my second win this year, but when the win comes like that it’s thanks to the team absolutely,” 33-year-old Viviani said.

In December last year Viviani complained about the difficulties he had been experiencing while with the Cofidis team and the lack of results and success that had taken a significant emotional toll on him. "My head was filled with doubts and insecurities. I imagine that in football, a high-level striker, the same happens in case he remains without scoring. Now I'm ready to triumph in important sprints again with Team Ineos-Grenadiers,” Viviani said back then, but the 2022 season has not brought him as much success on the roads as he was hoping for. Viviani has signed with Ineos-Grenadiers through the 2024 season, so there is still time for him to regain his pride and winning ability of seasons past. 

Mohoric, runner-up in the general classification behind Vingegaard, had secured three bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint during the stage and by placing second in today’s finish line sprint behind Viviani, Mohoric gained the additional needed six bonus seconds to dethrone Vingegaard and take the overall CRO Race victory by one second. Vingegaard failed to bank any bonus seconds in today’s decisive stage and will now focus on trying to win this year’s 253-kilometer Il Lombardia classic from Bergamo to Como on October 8.

Race winner Mohoric was grateful for the help from his teammates in the six-stage CRO battle. “We knew it was going to be an exciting fight today. This morning I was still eight seconds behind (Vingegaard), and it seemed impossible to still win the general classification. So we went all-in for the first intermediate sprint and also knew I had to finish second in the stage after that to gain enough bonus seconds," Mohoric explained. “I have to thank the whole team for what we accomplished. This would not have been possible without them.”

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