Dion Smith’s chances in next week’s UCI World Championships received a boost after he scored his first professional win.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider sprinted to victory today at Coppa Sabatini in in Italy, following an impressive lead-out that delivered him to the line on an uphill sprint in Peccioli.
By the time the race entered the final 12.1km finishing circuit in the 201km race, the breakaway reduced to five riders with the climb taking its toll, and the race came together in the last lap.
With an uphill drag to the finish line, Mitchelton-SCOTT took complete control to set a fierce pace before Smith launched from the wheel of his teammate to earn his first professional UCI victory.
“I have to thank my teammates they did such an impressive lead-out into the climb. All I had to do was sprint with 200metres to go, so it was a perfect lead-out and luckily I had the legs to finish it off.
“This is my first professional win; I’ve been close with second and third places before, but this is my first win, so it is one of the best results I have had. I have to thank everybody for all their support and believing in me.”
Smith will join fellow kiwis George Bennett, Patrick Bevin and Finn Fisher-Black in the Vantage New Zealand men’s team for the road world championships at Imola next week.
Photo: John Cowpland