82nd Tre Valli Varesine (UCI 1.1), Campione D'Italia-Varese, Italy, 194.7 kms
The "high ranking but relatively unknown Italian pro race", Tre Valli Varesine (Three Varesine Valleys) is the first of three consecutive races which take place every year (for more than half a century) during three days in a row, in the Northwestern part of the Lombardia region, and go under the name of "Trittico Lombardo" ("Lombard Trilogy"). The second race (to be held tomorrow) is the "Coppa Agostoni" in Lissone, and the final one (on Thursday) is the "Coppa Bernocchi" in Legnano.
The "Tre Valli Varesine", organized by the "Societa' Ciclistica Alfredo Binda" (a cycling team dedicated to the great Italian Champion of of the late 20s and early 30s, so strong that in 1929 he won 8 Giro stages out of 14, and the following year he was paid FOR NOT TAKING PART in the race. But surprisingly he didn't ever win this race, which was won by his brother Albino in 1930), starts in Campione D'Italia (an Italian enclave in Swiss territory, whose mayor seems to be interested in hosting a Giro's Stage in the coming years) and finishes, after almost 195 km., in the city of Varese, main center of an area which gave birth to many prominent (and promising) Italian riders.
171 riders set off from Campione D’Italia today and the 5 finishing circuit laps which included the two climbs of the Dumenza (three times )and the Ronchi (climbed five times) were always going to sort the wheat from the chaff. Indeed as the riders approached the final climb of the Ronchi, a select group including pre-race favourite Danilo Di Luca, Laurent Dufaux and Davide Rebellin had gained a small but decisive advantage on the peloton (only 84 riders finished the race).
Eddy Ratti, who had his first professional victory in the time trial event of the Regio Tour (and also wore the race leader's jersey for a time), remembered those time trialing skills and attacked his more illustrious companions on the steepest part of the Ronchi climb with 2 kilometres to go. It was a determined effort which took his rivals by surprise and, having made the move, Ratti soloed home to his second ever victory - and a famous one at that!
After the race Ratti said, "Today I have learnt a lot about cycle racing. When I attacked I tried remain concentrated and think only of the road. But I know above all that this victory will help me in the next stage of my career, Mapei will finish at the end of the year and I still do not know whether Quickstep will want to me... but I am very happy. I dedicate it to my team mates who controlled the race all day for me and I am particularly pleased to give the Mapei team their first every victory in the Tre Valli Varesine."
1. Eddy Ratti (Ita-Map), 4-41-25
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita-Sae), a 9"
3. Laurent Dufaux (Swi-Als), mt
4. Massimiliano Mori (Ita-), mt
5. Fortunato Baliani (Ita-Clm), mt
6. Davide Rebellin (Ita-Gst), mt
7. Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita-Ina), mt
8. Ivan Basso (Ita-Fas), mt
9. Luca Paolini (Ita-Map), mt
10. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr-Lan), a 22"