Braidot takes it all in La Thuile: stage victory and GC

For a long time, the Internazionali d’Italia Series‘ races looked doomed for Luca Braidot (Santa Cruz-FSA). Be it bad luck, technical mishaps or physical troubles, things never seemed to align for the 31-year-old in Italian races.

In 2022, however, the wind has changed: Braidot got on the podium already in the season opener in San Zeno di Montagna, and then the big HC win in Capoliveri finally brought a decade-long drought to an end.

Having broken the spell, Luca doesn’t look like stopping anymore. The Italian clinched another HC win in the series finale in La Thuile, sealing the Open Men category’s overall success in the process.
After the first lap went through without major gaps, the second time on the La Thuile ring began to make a selection, leaving a trio in the lead. Luca Braidot, fellow Italian Juri Zanotti (Absolute Absalon) and South African Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory Racing) moved to the fore, chased by Italian National Champion Nadir Colledani (MMR Factory Racing) and Daniele Braidot (CS Carabinieri) 20 seconds behind.

In the following lap, Luca Braidot showed his punch by getting clear of his rivals, putting 30 seconds between himself and his two former companions, joined in the meantime by Colledani.

The Italian National Champion was the one with the best pace behind the leader, succeeding in distancing Zanotti, while Hatherly faltered nearly halfway through the race, falling well outside of the top 10.

Braidot had the time to savor his double success through the final lap, saluted by the La Thuile crowd with a 56-second advantage on Colledani, and 1.24 over Zanotti. The all-Italian top-3 will leave a smile on the face of Italian National Team coach Mirko Celestino. New Zealander Ben Oliver (Mitoq – NZ Cycling Project) was fourth on the day, followed by Anton Sintsov (Orbea Club) in fifth.

“I had done two weeks of altitude training before this race, so I was kind of cautious early on,” Braidot told afterwards. “When I realized I had more gas than the rest, I pushed on and it worked out. I am excited to have achieved a double goal. Last year was a really difficult one, characterized by the huge disappointment of the Olympic Games. After that, I have changed everything, from preparation to nutrition, and I am seeing results. And finally, my fate at Internazionali d’Italia Series has changed, too.”

Ninth in La Thuile, Filippo Fontana (CS Carabinieri) secured the overall GC victory for the Under 23 Men’s category.