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Bagioli, a farewell masterpiece


In any sphere of life, it is always better to part ways with a smile, without rancour, respectfully and with the awareness that the journey has come to an end, plain and simple. That is pretty much the case between Andrea Bagioli and Soudal-QuickStep, who will part ways at the end of this season after four unforgettable years. And by the way, this has nothing to do with the numerous gossips that have been swirling around Patrick Lefevere’s team these days, because Bagioli had already signed with Lidl Trek long before these rumours came along.

Thus, there is nothing better than leaving with a victory in a prestigious Classic with such ancient appeal as the GranPiemonte, proving to be professional and motivated right up to the last metre. Bagioli has been one of the best prospects, if not the very best, in Italian cycling for a few years now, but in these first four years as a professional (all spent defending the Wolfpack colours) he has only sporadically managed to show his great talent.

His characteristics are made to measure for the Classics: resilient on the climbs, fast in tight sprints, and gifted with a remarkable change of pace. Today he managed to show all of this, especially on the demanding Alpette climb, where he proved to be the strongest along with team-mate Mattia Cattaneo and Eddie Dunbar (Jayco AlUla). Bagioli then pulled off a deadly attack on the short run-in to Prascorsano – which put even Marc Hirschi in trouble – and eventually won the four-man sprint ahead of remarkably fast riders, such as Hirschi himself and Alex Aranburu, considered by most to be a somewhat atypical sprinter.

The 24-year-old from Valtellina will undoubtedly leave a nice memory at Soudal-QuickStep, which could become even sweeter on Saturday, at Il Lombardia. At least on paper, the Wolfpack will work for Remco Evenepoel, but with a leg like that, Bagioli can dream of being much more than a back-up option. Not least because Pogačar and Roglič cannot be beaten without a bit of imagination, a bit of courage, as Ilan Van Wilder showed the other day at the Tre Valli Varesine. Who knows then, perhaps Bagioli is still hungry for more. One thing is for sure: he is stronger and more motivated than ever.

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