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BERGAMO, Italy (VN) — Astana says that Diego Rosa failed to listen to team orders and gave up any chance of winning in Il Lombardia Saturday.
Rosa attacked twice in the final two kilometers (at 1600 meters and 350 meters remaining) and lost the sprint to Esteban Chaves (Orica – BikeExchange).
“I’ve only been this upset a few times in my life,” sports director Giuseppe Martinelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
“If Rosa had listened to me, he would’ve won. You can’t throw away an occasion in that way. You can’t lose like that. I mean, you can lose, but not by miscalculating.”
Rosa, 27, joined the day’s decisive move with Chaves, Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale), and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) on the Selvino climb. He marked his rivals over the final ramps through Bergamo’s high city and then played his hand on the ride into town with only Chaves and Urán for company.
The last time the race finished in Bergamo, Dan Martin (then with Garmin – Sharp) won with an attack ahead of the final curve at 250 meters.
Rosa said his mistake came earlier. “That attack at 1600 meters,” he told press in a tent next to Bergamo’s high-end shops. “That was useless. But I wasn’t the fastest and I had to play my hand, a surprise.
“I believed. I knew that Chaves was faster than me in a straight up sprint. I didn’t want to just lose stupidly. I knew that curve at 250 meters. Urán obviously closed the gap to me, but I don’t want to cause polemics. It happens, it’s normal. If I had made it through with two meters on them then it would’ve worked, instead, nothing.”
Rosa will ride for Sky next year. Astana backed him when its star Fabio Aru showed he was not in monumental form. The Italian-styled Kazakh team in blue, however, was not happy with how Rosa finished Lombardia.
“Diego should’ve not moved like he did. I told him,” Martinelli added. “He should have stayed in the wheels, both on the Selvino and in Bergamo Alta without even considering what happened in the final.
“In the last curve, he should have been in second position regardless of who was in front. It was clear the other two [Urán and Chaves] would help each other, it happened in the Giro d’Italia already this year … And instead, he went through first. A close second place in a monument is nothing to laugh at, but this makes me feel truly sick.”