NEWS: Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) has taken out overall honours in the Tour of Croatia after gaining back control on the final stage of the six-stage UCI 2.1 event. The Italian took the first intermediate sprint bonus to move ahead in the GC, and then gapped Roson in the finish to win the overall by eight seconds. Jan Hirt (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) rounded out the podium.

Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) won the final stage by two seconds over teammate Jan Polanc and Boy van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo), with Nibali in fourth.

“I’m happy I completed a very good performance by the team,” Modolo said after jumping away on the twisting, cobbled finale. “Jan and I obtained an impressive double. The finale was not easy, it was necessary to have power and stamina, I had good feelings. My morale in view of the Giro d’Italia is high.”

Roson was in a group seven seconds down on Nibali, having conceded the race lead in the day’s first intermediate sprint.

Nibali surprised Caja Rural by attacking for the first sprint bonus, just 3.8km into the stage, and Roson was disappointed to have missed out on a big result for his palmares.

“Clearly its been a difficult day for us,” Roson said. “The team had done great work all this week, so in that sense its a pity. I lost this battle to one of the greatest cyclists in history, so it’s not so bad when you think of it like that. In the mountains I was the strongest, but the strongest doesn’t always win. I’ll leave with my head held high as there is a long season ahead so this result is not the end of the world.”

Nibali dedicated the victory to his friend Michele Scarponi, who was fatally struck by a vehicle while he was training at home in Italy.

“This win is for Michele, for a great friend; he was like a brother for me,” Nibali said. “The last two days have been difficult and everyone can understand why. I raced with sadness in my heart, even if my form was good. I wanted to win for Michele.”

Source: Cycling News

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