Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux was at the start of its third Italian semi classic in three days this Thursday, on the occasion of the Gran Piemonte (1.Pro, 7/10). The riders under the direction of Valerio Piva had to accomplish 168 kilometer at the foot of the Alps, without entering them as they did in the previous edition.
So, the climb towards La Serra (6.5 km at 5.2%) was the only categorized climb, in the first race half, offering an opportunity to the sprinters to battle for the victory. Biniam Girmay and Riccardo Minali could rely on the support of their teammates, and on former winner Jan Bakelants in particular.
The control of the time gap between the early breakaway and the peloton was perfect, so a complete peloton prepared for the expected bunch sprint in the streets of Borgosesia. But street furniture and roundabouts disorganized the approach to the sprint, almost causing a crash of Biniam Girmay in the final hectometers. But the Eritrean rider and his teammate Minali managed to avoid the incident and finished 5th and 7th respectively.