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Massimo Strazzer: Riding in the Path of Giants
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 10/20/2002
Massimo Strazzer: Riding in the Path of Giants

The Giro d' Italia has been called the "May Feast;" the first Grand Tour of the year, it is the grande dame of Spring. Any "Girini" is familiar with the many competitions within the competition, with Jerseys as bright as the flowers of spring. The Maglia Ciclamino (Cyclamen Jersey) is awarded for sprint points. The Maglia Azzura (Blue Jersey) for the Intergiro contested over 21 sprints awarded by time and time bonuses. An additional contest acknowledges the most combative rider, for his attacking spirit, with the Combativity trophy.

The Champions of the Maglia Ciclamino are a who's who of Giro history and classic sprinters: Gianni Motta, Dino Zandegu, Franco Bitossi, Marino Basso, Roger De Vlaeminck, Francesco Moser, Giuseppe Saronni, Eddy Merckx, Urs Freuler, Guido Bontempi, Laurent Jalabert, Johan Van der Velde, Giovanni Fidanza, Claudio Chiapucci, Mario Cipollini, Adriano Baffi, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Tony Rominger, and Dimitri Konyshev. To this elite list the name of Massimo Strazzer was added in 2001.

Likewise, the champions list of the Intergiro (Maglia Azzura), begun in 1989, is equally stellar: Jure Pavlic, Phil Anderson, Alberto Lianizbarrutia, Miguel Indurain, Jan Savorda, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Tony Rominger, Guidi Fabrizio, Gianmetteo Fagnini, Dimitri Konyshev...and Massimo Strazzer.

A typical intergiro sprint is in the middle of the stage, often placed before the first climbs. It is an additional taxing challenge for the riders, who use energy at a critical point in the race when they might best save their energy for the brutal impending climb or for the later part of the day's stage and the finishing sprint. The Intergiro was invented to create additonal excitement to the Giro stages, much as the primes do in a local Kermesse or criterium. Any rider can tell you how sapping an "all out effort" in the middle of a race can effect his end result. It takes a certain agressiveness and willingness to suffer to contest the intergiro.

Several riders have accomplished winning the Maglia Ciclamino more than once.  Moser and Saronni share the record at four each, De Vlaeminck and Van Der Velde three each, Eddy Merckx, Bitossi, Cipollini all tied at two apiece. Only four riders in the last fifteen years since the inclusion of the Intergiro have won a "double," winning both the Maglia Ciclamino and Azzura in the same year: Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Tony Rominger, and Guidi Fabrizio were the first three. Massimo Strazzer added his name to this distinguished list in the 84th edition of the Giro in 2001. Riding on the Mobilvetta/Fromaggi Trenti Div II team, he also added the combativity trophy to his palmares.

Massimo returned to the Giro in 2002 in Urs Frueler's Div I Phonak team. Urs Frueler, a ten time track World Champion with many wins on the road and in six day events, is no stranger to the Maglia Ciclamino which he won in 1984. After an excellent spring season winning three spring races, among them the Classica Almeria and three stages of the Circuit de la Sarthe Massimo and Team Phonak Strazzer arrived at the Giro to challenge the Lion King and his zebratto herd.

For twenty days the teams and two sprinters waged a brave battle trading the lead on the road. In the end Super Mario arrived triumphant in Milan to win the Maglia Ciclamina by a mere 18 points. Massimo, on the other hand, returned the favour, winning the Intergiro competition and collecting the Maglia Azzura by 14 points. In his eleventh year as a professional rider it was a very good year. To challenge Mario Cipollini for the sprinter's prize and to win the Intergiro shows his talent and strength against the best.

One must not overlook the fact that in Fabios Fantasy Giro, both 1st and 2nd place winners chose Massimo Strazzer and he delivered 252 points to the fantasy game. I asked Fabio, "How famous is Massimo in Italy?" Fabio replied, "Well, not as famous as Cipo, but amongst those who know racing, he is very well known." Perhaps this says it best.

Tomorrow the Daily Peloton will present an interview with Massimo Strazzer. You will find his palmares below with some notes of interest.

Courtesy of Phonak

Massimo Strazzer
Born 17/08/1969
Pro in 1991
1991-1993 Jolly Club 88
1994-1995 Navigare/Blue Storm
1996 Brescialat
1997 Rossolotto/Z.G.
1998 Cantina Lotto
1999 Mobilvetta Design
2000 Alessio SGM 
2001 Mobilvetta/Fromaggi Trenti
2002 Phonak

1992 (1) One stage Settimana Siciliana
1993 (1) One stage Tirreno-Adriatico
1994 (3) Three Stages Volta e Portugal
1995 (2) One stage Tour du Vaucluse, One stage Volta e Portugal
1996 (2) One stage des Trois Jours de La Panne (Three Days of Panne), Mile Metri del Corso Mestre
1997 (6) Classica del Almeria, Two stages Tour de Murcia, Two stages Tour Méditerranéen, Mile Metri del Corso Mestre
1998 (3) Two stages Tour de Switzerland, One stage Vuelta e Valencia
1999 (3) One stage Tirreno-Adriatico, One stage Tour of Poland, Mile Metri del Corso Mestre
2000 (1) One stage Tour of Bavaria
2001 Giro d' Italia: Maglia Ciclamino (Sprints Jersey), Maglia Azzura (Intergiro sprints) and Combativity competition
2002 (6) Classica de Almeria, Stausee Rundfahrt, three stages Circuit de la Sarthe (Chateaubriant, Angers, Le Mans), Albese con Cassano (Memorial F.Casartelli), Giro d' Italia Intergiro Maglia Azzura & Combativity competition.

One can further appreciate Signore Strazzer's accomplishments in the quality of the competitions, and in the closeness of the General Classification of the Circuit de la Sarthe. Strazzer won three of the four stages, with only seconds splitting the field in the G.C.

In addition, this is the second time Massimo has won the Classica Almeria. When he won the first time in 1997, the field contained these familiar names: Mava Heeswijk, Jan Savorda, Claudio Chiapucci, Marco Pantani and Pavel Tonkov.

Final G.C. Circuit de la Sarthe April 12, 2002
1 Didier Rous (Fra) Bonjour
2 Bradley McGee (Aus) La Francaise des Jeux 0.01
3 Arturas Kasputis (Ltu) Ag2r-Prevoyance 0.04
4 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean-Delatour 0.06
5 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service 0.07
6 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Ag2r-Prevoyance 0.08
7 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.10
8 François Simon (Fra) Bonjour 0.12
9 Jan Hruska (Cze) ONCE-Eroski 0.16
10 Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.17

Classica de Almeria (Spain) March 3, 2002 UCI 1.3
1 Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Phonak Hearing System 3.54.36 (44.501 km/h)
2 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank s.t.
3 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank s.t.
4 Angel Edo (Spa) Milaneza-MSS s.t.
5 Inigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi s.t.

I very much look forward to presenting the interview with Massimo Strazzer tomorrow. I hope you will join me.

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