photo credits @ Iam Cycling
Leigh Howard (IAM) brought a three-year drought to an end today, after winning a shortened edition of Clásica de Almería in a sprint finish ahead of Alexei Tsatevich (Katusha) and his teammate Aleksejs Saramotins.
“It was a very strange day, with a crazy amount of wind,” Howard said. “The race was neutralized and restarted numerous times. Finally we came back to where the hotel is, and we did a circuit race of seven laps. It was again super windy, and the race actually split with one or two kilometers to go in the crosswinds. I was lucky enough that I had good teammates around me, they delivered me and all I had to do was sprint for the last 200m.”
Windy conditions forced race officials to reduce today’s race to just a 21 kilometer criterium around Almería.
Not long after the start, a flurry of attacks got underway, but thanks to the efforts of Direct Energie, no rider managed to escape.
As the race entered the penultimate lap, CCC Sprandi was in control of the peloton, while Cofidis, IAM Cycling, Direct Energie and Katusha began ushering their respective sprinters into position.
Heading onto the final lap, the trio of Leigh Howard, Aleksejs Saramotins and Alexei Tsatevich succeeded in getting away, with Saramotins sacrificing himself in earnest, to deliver Howard to victory, who crossed the finish with the slightest of margins over the Katusha rider to seize the win.
Top 20 Finishers
1 Leigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling 0:28:29
2 Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Team Katusha
3 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie 0:00:05
5 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
6 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot – Oranje Peloton
7 Pawel Franczak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team
8 Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo 0:00:08
9 Eryk Laton (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:11
11 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
12 Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
13 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
14 Alexey Kurbatov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
15 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
16 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
17 Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:00:15
18 Michel Kreder (Ned) Roompot – Oranje Peloton 0:00:20
19 Andrei Solomenikov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo 0:00:17
20 Kamil Gradek (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team 0:00:24
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