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YOUNG GUNS (U23) - ITALIAN REPORT (October 23rd, 2002)
By Fabio
Date: 10/23/2002
YOUNG GUNS (U23) - ITALIAN REPORT (October 23rd, 2002)

Zoccorinese-Vellutex takes Top 6 places in Ferrera:Tuesday was just another, "ordinary", triumphal day for Zoccorinese-Vellutex. Italy's (and probably Europe's) mightiest Team in the Under 23 and Elite 2 scene dominated the 35th "Gran Premio Comune di Ferrera Erbognone", a 96-km-long (the original route was of 120 km., but it was shortened by a lap due to a road accident, not involving the riders anyway) contest disputed over 4 laps of a 24-km. circuit on the flat roads of Lomellina, in the Southwestern part of Lombardia.

True that a limited number of participants (only 38 starters) could have made things a little easier for the Zoccorineses, but the field was an high-quality one, and the display of power by Olivano Locatelli's boys, who took ALL Top 6 places in the final Rankings, was simply astonishing. Even more if you think that their achievement did not came at the end of a bunch sprint, but after Zoccorinese-Vellutex got almost all of their riders in the race's breakaways.

The first break came right in the opening lap, with three protagonists; Zoccorinese's Antonino Mendolaro, future winner of the competition, and two local riders, Federico Polonini (GSC Garlaschese) and Massimo Boglia (Viris Lomellina Vigevano). At the end of the first lap two more riders joined them: tuscan Andrea Blardone and another Zoccorinese, Emanuele Vona.

But the Zoccorinese-Vellutex showdown had just begun, and continued in the second lap with three more members of the team bridiging the gap to the leading quintet: Gianluca Moi (winner of last Sunday's Chrono des Herbiers in Francia), Diego Nosotti (he too successful on Sunday, when capturing on the "Trofeo Sportivi Magnaghesi") and Santo Anzá (not new to excellent results in this part of Italy, as in early July he won the "Freccia dei Vini" on the hills of Oltrepó Pavese) caught the five escapees.

The leading sextet (5 belonging to the same team)
Soon later both Polonini and Boglia got dropped, and the leading bunch was reduced to six riders ... five of which belonging to the same team. Not the best possible race dynamics for Andrea Blardone ...

Later a 3-man break formed ...
Indeed the Tuscan rider, belonging to Team Aurora Named Concorezzo, couldn't do much when three Zoccorineses (Moi, Nosotti, Mendolaro) rode clear during the third lap of competition. A winning move nobody could match.

The main peloton trying to chase down the Zoccorineses
Also the main peloton's efforts to chase down the escapees proved vain. And in the last part of the competition a few more riders (including another Zoccorinese, Luigi Sestili) succeeded in escaping the main bunch and gaining the second group. No chances for them to bring back the leading trio anyway

Antonino Mendolaro raises his arms in triumph ..
In the latest part of the race, 19-year-old Antonino Mendolaro dropped his two team-mates and went on a solo breakaway, just to cross the finishing line with his arms raised, for the first time in 2002. Never too late for the Zoccorinese's Sicilian, who broke the ice right at the end of the current season.

The Sprint for second place
The following duo came in 15" behind, with Nosotti taking second by outsprinting Sardinian Gianluca Moi, and both completing the one-team podium.

And a hotly-disputed sprint for fourth place too
The remaining Zoccorineses came in 2'16" behind the winner, in a tight sprint for place number four, with Santo Anzá edging out Vona and Sestili. Alberto Di Lorenzo of Pool Cantu', the last rider to give up attempts to catch the leaders, could only take the "best of the rest" spot and watch the three Zoccorineses make their domination of the contest complete.

35th "GP Comune di Ferrera Erbognone"- Results (Top 10 Places):

1. Antonio Mendolaro (Ita - Zoccorinese-Vellutex) km. 96 in 2h08' (45 km/h);

2. Diego Nosotti (Ita - Zoccorinese-Vellutex) - at 15";

3. Gianluca Moi (Ita - Zoccorinese-Vellutex) - at 15"

4. Santo Anzŕ (Ita - Zoccorinese-Vellutex) - at 2'16";

5. Emanuele Vona (Ita - Zoccorinese-Vellutex);

6. Luigi Sestili (Ita - Zoccorinese-Vellutex);

7. Alberto Di Lorenzo (Ita - Pool Cantů-Soteco-Garda Calze);

8. Andrea Blardone (Ita - Team Aurora Named Concorezzo);

9. Manuel Dell'Acqua (Ita - Team Aurora Named Concorezzo);

10. Paolo Tomaselli (Ita - Zoccorinese-Vellutex)

Mexican Adalpe wins "Golden Hat" Trophy: Has the peloton just found a new Mexican protagonist, ready to follow the steps of Pérez Cuapio, or at least Colpack's Miguel Meza Flores ? Time will tell. Maybe Antonio Adalpe Chávez is not as a good climber as "Lucky" Pérez is, but nonetheless he has managed to show all of his skills many a time in the current season.

The last of them by winning the Trofeo "Cappello d'Oro" ("Golden Hat"), a stage, point-competition disputed in the Marche Region of Central Italy through the 2002 season, and finished with the Latin American edging out Italy's Stelvio Michero by 5 points. Third place getter was Luigi Buonfrate.

Adalpe Chávez, currently riding for local team Polisportiva Autolelli, will be awarded a special prize for winning the contest in a ceremony to be held on November 16.

"Trofeo Cappello d'Oro": Final Standings - Top 20 Places :

1. Aldape Chávez Antonio (Mex - Polisportiva Auto Lelli) - 60 points

2. Michero Stelvio (Ita - S.C. Centri della Calzatura D.Bigioni) - 55 points

3. Buonfrate Luigi (Ita - Polisportiva Auto Lelli) - 48 points

4. Marinangeli Sergio (Ita - S.C. Calzaturieri Montegranaro Marini Silvano) - 47 points

5. Bajenov Alexander (Rus - G.S. Impruneta-Cotto REF) - 39 points

6. Ermeti Giairo (Ita - U.S. Palazzago-AB Isolanti Zoccorinese) - 38 points

7. Pietrangelo Francesco (Ita - S.C. Centri della Calzatura D.Bigioni) - 34 points

8. Bellotti Francesco (Ita - V.C. Mantovani), points

9. Amichetti Massimo (Ita - SC Centri della Calzatura D.Bigioni) - 33 points

10. Tomi Giulio (Ita - G.S. Impruneta-Cotto REF) - 32 points

11. Solari Luca (Ita - G.S. Marchiol Site Frezza), points

12. Fanelli Ivan (Ita - G.S. Grassi-Mapei-Vannucci Piante) - 30 points

13. Dementiev Dimitri (Rus - G.S. Podenzano Italfine) points

14. Andrenacci Danilo (Ita - SC Monturano Civitanova Cascinare) - 27 points

15. Quadranti Antonio (Ita - G.C. Feralpi-Sintofarm), points

16. Caneschi Leonardo (Ita - Cycling Team Eternedile Ozzzanese) - 26 points

17. D'Andrea Alessandro (Ita - S.C. Centri della Calzatura-D.Bigioni) - 25 points

18. Kobzarenko Valery (Ukr - V.C. Aran Wrold Cantina Tollo) - 25 points

19. Cappč Matteo (Ita - S.C. Reda Godo Mulinari) - 18 points

20. Rudenko Maksym (Ukr - G.S. Juvenes Steriltom) - 17 points


Teams Ranking (GP Mille Cappellini) - Final Standings: Top 5 Places:

1. S.C. Centri della Calzatura D.Bigioni-Auto Lelli - 153 points

2. Polisportiva Auto Lelli - 145 points

3. G.S. Impruneta-Cotto REF - 142 points

4. Cycling Team Eternedile-Pedale Ozzanese - 70 points

5. G.S. Grassi-Mapei-Vannucci Piante - 69 points

Domenico Puzzovivo to stay at Zoccorinese for one more year: A correction to a news reported in the UCI U23 Final Standings article, according to which Italy's Domenico Puzzovivo would turn a pro rider next year with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago. The 19-year-old (born on November the 30th, 1982) climber from the Basilicata region, winner of the GP Schwarzwald World Cup Race in Germany two months ago, has actually signed for the Italo-Belgian professional team, but according to Team Manager Olivano Locatelli the talented youngster will spend one more year competing in the U23-Elite 2 Category, and get into the LBC roster in the year 2004 only.

Spotlight on "Fast Francesco" Chicchi: Or "the new Cipollini" as a few Italian media already nicknamed him. One may think they are going a bit too far with words: cycling history is full of "next Merckxs", "next Indurains" (and probably "next Armstrongs" in years to come) who never proved able to achieve the results gotten by the legendary riders they were compared too. But leaving sensationalism apart, there's no doubt that the brand new World U23 Road Champion, Francesco Chicchi, is one of the most promising riders, and will likely be one of the guys to watch out for during bunch sprints.

Especially as the man is about to join one of the best trade teams around, Fassa-Bortolo, who could ascend to the top spot of the relative UCI rankings after Mapei's retirement from cycling. And the Italian squad seems intentioned to follow the steps of their Mapei (former) rivals also by setting up, besides the "big" team, an "Espoirs" version, similar to the Mapei one which got plenty of victories all through the 2002 season. The man in charge of such a task will be Roberto Damiani, the same Team Manager who did the job for Mapei Espoirs this year, now crossing the bridge to join Fassa, and taking some of their most successful youngsters (Pozzato and Cancellara in particular) with him.

And Chicchi too. The Zolder Gold medallist could have joined Mapei in case the team hadn't pulled out of cycling, but he sounded pleased to move to Fassa Bortolo and find again his ancient teammates (as Juniors) Pozzato and Cancellara, plus Mauro Facci "We worked well together before, and I'm happy to have them as team-mates one more time. All of us will probably compete in lesser races than the "big names" of the team, where I'll try to get my first satisfactions".

A few tidbits concerning his build-up for the coming season: "I'll keep training on my MTB, swimming and running. I can hold on in 2-3 km long climbs, but in order to be able to win Milano-Sanremo or Gand-Wevelgem one day, you need to work on longer distances. My physical structure is massive, typical of a powerful, Cipollini-like, sprinter, and I must be careful not to gain too much weight".

Body structure is not the only thing he has in common with Super Mario, apart from winning their first World title in the same year, as both are from the Lucca province of Tuscany (Chicchi is from the town of Camaiore) and ... like the discos "But I have always been able to reconcile fun and cycling so far, and get good results on my bike. And I hope I can afford it again".

Needless to say, the World Title he took at Zolder (see links at the bottom of the page for full results and report of the race) was a turning point in the man's career. Before he had some contacts with just one professional team (Amore & Vita), but after his successful ride in Belgium, no less than the powerful Fassa Bortolo opened doors to Chicchi.

And the inclusion of "Fast Francesco" in the Italian National Team reportedly came as a surprise to the rider himself, after he had raced only for 83 days in the 2002 season "(Team Coach) Fusi selected me after I won the Gran Premio Fiera del Riso at Isola della Scala near Verona, just three weeks before the Worlds. Something I didn't expect any longer".

But things took and unexpected and pleasant turn for Chicchi, such that the man can start to think big. With "think big" now meaning mainly one thing: to battle with Alessio's Angelo Furlan, revelation (double-stage winner) of the recent Tour of Spain, and Chicchi's number one rival when both were amateurs "Angelo and I represent the new generation of sprinters, and I want to take some revenge on him, after he always edged me out in lesser categories".

He's currently learning from a guy able to outsprint Furlan (and the rest) more than once in the Vuelta, Fassa's Alessandro Petacchi "I'm training with him in this period. I have often managed to beat Alessandro in simulated sprints, but perhaps he was just letting me win: I'll be working more".

Related Articles
Young Guns - Latest Results from Italy (October 6th, 2002)
Worlds U23 Road Race Full Results: Updated!
Young Guns: U23 Update (October 17th, 2002)

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