What will be the fate of Sonny Colbrelli in 2017? After ive years earning a crust with Bardiani-CSF, a lurry of solid results last year in the run-up to the Qatar Worlds (he was the only ProContinental rider in the Azzuri) attracted irresistible overtures from Bahrain-Merida. He got o f to a consistent but not brilliant start: three top 10s by mid February.
The punchy sprinter has been in a big team’s sights before. Sky thought seriously about picking him up at the end of 2014 when he had another strong end to his year. It’s a curious trait of the 26-year-old’s career so far that he’s been good in the early season, and great at the end. Professional wins between January and April so far: one. Wins between August and October: nine. It could be down to a convergence of form and motivation, but more likely it’s down to simple opportunity. Italian one-day races – which account for nine of his 15 professional wins – are thin on the ground before the Giro, but they proliferate in August and September.
Historically, Colbrelli’s made little impact in Tirreno and the Giro, the two WorldTour stage races that
It’s a curious trait of the 26-year- old’s career so far that he’s been good in the early season, and great at the end
stud his early season. His best stage results in either were a ifth and third in the Giro last year – isolated highlights between bunch sprints and mountains. That de iciency won’t matter in his new team as Vicenzo Nibali will have full support at the Italian Grand Tour. But what is most impressive is his season-long consistency: he bangs out top 10s all year round. He’s been top 10 in Milan-San Remo (’14 and ’16) and he hit a new high last year when he came third in the Amstel Gold Race – his irst podium in a major Classic. No wonder Bahrain were interested: While Nibali and Jon Izagirre lead in stage races, Colbrelli’s free to carry on doing what he does best: hoovering up places – and points – in other theatres.