finally scored his first victory since his comeback to the races the past week. It was no great solo win anyway, as the Italian "just" had the quickest legs in the six-man sprint that decided the outcome of Saturday's stage three of the Settimana Lombarda, a challenging ride of 125.5 kilometres around the town of Lumezzane near Brescia, after the nine-strong "breakaway of the day" as well as all other attempts were nullified.
But Michele Scarponi was also up to the task: the Androni-Diquigiovanni team leader snatched the runner-up spot in the sprint and got six welcomed bonus seconds that, opposed to Ricco's ten-second bonus, helped him keep a good 17-second advantage on today's stage winner in the GC.
Fabio Taborre (Ita - Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni), Paolo Ciavatta (Ita - Acqua & Sapone), Yukiya Arashiro (Jap - Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Luca Celli (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia), Roberto Ferrari (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic), Damiano Caruso (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic), Claudio Corioni (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic), Ruslan Pydgornyy (Ukr - ISD-Neri) and Pasquale Muto (Ita - Miche) broke away after 23 kilometers and stayed clear for a long time. Ferrari, Corioni and Pydgornyy fell off the pace at km. 90, while the others were going to be chased down about 4 km. from the finish; then Scarponi's Colombian teammate José R. Serpa Pérez gave it a late try, but he didn't succeed, neither did Matteo Carrara's very last move before Riccò made the most out of his power to claim the stage.
More food for the climbers comes tomorrow, in the Easter Sunday's hilly bikefight that both starts and finishes (after a journey of 152.8 kilometers) at Grumello del Monte town. The difficulties are the second category Solto Collina and the tougher (Cat. 1) Gandosso, whose summit (624 metres asl) comes with under three km. to go.
Stage 3 (Lumezzane to Lumezzane, 125.5 km)
Top 10 Places
1. Riccardo Riccò (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia) - 02h48'52" (42.643 kph)
2. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni) - s.t.
3. Matteo Carrara (Ita - Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) - s.t.
4. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol - Miche) - s.t.
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Hol - Rabobank CT) - s.t.
6. Luca Zanasca (Ita - CDC–Cavaliere) - s.t.
7. Riccardo Chiarini (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic) - s.t.
8. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol - ISD–Neri) - s.t.
9. Fortunato Baliani (Ita - Miche) - s.t.
10. Alessandro Bisolti (Ita - Colnago–CSF Inox)- s.t.
* Complete stage results HERE (pdf file).
40th Settimana Lombarda - GC after Stage 3: Top 10 Places
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Androni-Diquigiovanni) - 10h09'37"
2. Riccardo Riccò (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia) - at 17"
3. Matteo Carrara (Ita - Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) - at 18"
4. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol - Miche) - at 26"
5. Luca Zanasca (Ita - CDC–Cavaliere) - at 36"
6. Riccardo Chiarini (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic) - at 47"
7. Fortunato Baliani (Ita - Miche) - at 49"
8. Emanuele Sella (Ita - Carmiooro-NGC) - at 57"
9. Johann Tschopp (Swi - Bbox-Bouygues Telecom) - at 58"
10. Rob Ruijgh (Hol - Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) - at 01'03"
* Full GC after Stage 3 HERE (pdf file).
Points: 1. Roberto Ferrari (Ita - De Rosa–Stac Plastic)
Mountains: 1. Ruslan Pidgornyy (Ukr - ISD-Neri)
Young Riders: 1. Rob Ruijgh (Hol - Vacansoleil Pro CT)
Foreign Riders: 1. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol - Miche)
Teams: 1. Miche