Sonny Colbrelli opened Bahrain-Merida’s account at the Tour of Oman yesterday, winning stage four in a bunch sprint.
The Italian was clearly the strongest in the final, with clear air between him and second-placed Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team). Clément Venturini (Ag2R) was a close third place after what was a tough day in the saddle for the 120-strong peloton.
The shortest stage of the contest, at 131km, had a slightly uphill finish, and was marked by a long break with the last three riders caught in only the final kilometres. However, the Italian cyclist deservedly conquered it, posting a time of 3:17:09.
Commenting after the race, Colbrelli said: “Today was the first time I felt good here,” explaining that he’d struggled to adapt to the Middle Eastern heat on the opening three stages. “That’s good for the morale ahead of the next races.”
He added, “This victory proves I am in good form but I can still improve some more.”
As for what he can achieve at the biggest one-day races, Colbrelli, who joined Bahrain-Merida from Bardiani-CSF in 2017, is aiming big.
“For sure, a good result in the Classics is my big objective for this season. I learned something more about these races last year and I feel I’m improving every year,” he said. “I am aiming not only for top 10s or top fives but podiums.”