6/25/2012 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Pellizotti returns from ban to win Italian road title
Di Luca gets over Moser for silver
Franco Pellizotti scored an emphatic victory in the Italian road championships, returning from his two-year ban for irregular biological passport values to solo to his first tricolore. Danilo Di Luca was second from the chasing group.
Now riding for Androni Giocattoli, Pellizotti attacked an elite group which had bridged up to the solo move of Michele Scarponi. He left behind Liquigas-Cannondale duo Moreno Moser and Vincenzo Nibali, Scarponi and Katusha's Giampaolo Caruso en route to the win.
“Anyone who knows me will know how hard I tried in that last kilometre,” Pellizotti said. “At 400 metres to go, I knew I’d won and was able to enjoy it. I wish that it could have never ended.
“I must thank Androni for the great trust they have shown in me. After they confirmed my appointment I was able to train in the best possible way for this race.”
Scarponi had a lead of almost a minute-and-a-half with two laps of the course and 27km to go, but saw his advantage quickly eradicated as the race hurtled towards its conclusion. He was eventually swallowed up by the three podium finishers, Nibali and Caruso just ahead of the beginning of the final lap.
Pellizotti then attacked almost immediately as the riders started to climb for the final time. Caruso was the only rider who was capable of going with him and the duo formed a leading pair for a few kilometres before Pellizotti, who was easily the fresher man, turned the screw and piled on the pressure until Caruso cracked.
Caruso quickly came back to Di Luca and Moser, who eventually overtook him and took their places on the podium. Both Nibali and Scarponi, whose minds were probably several hundred miles north in Liege, where the Tour de France starts next weekend. Nibali had publicly played down his chance of winning here in the build up the race, having spent some punishing hours on the Passo San Pellegrino as part of a training camp ahead of the Tour de France.
Di Luca bettered his previous best finish at the championships (3rd place in 2009) while Moser’s performance offered up further evidence that he could be the next best thing in Italian cycling, belying his tender years at the age of 21.
This year’s renewal was a particularly brutal one, with only 20 riders finishing the race.
Read more on: cyclingnews.com
Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli) soloed to victory
Photo: © Bettini Photo