Lampre riders dominated the first day of the opening leg of the 3rd "Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi e Bartali". The competition, named after Italy's greatest riders of all-time, began with two half-stages, the first one being an 84-km. road race starting and finishing in the seaside resort of Riccione, which ended in a sprinters festival, with Lampre's Ian Svorada edging out Sardinian team-mate Alberto Loddo and Saeco's fastest wheel Ivan Quaranta.
Thus the Saronni boys got their 10th win of the season (four of them coming Pagliarini, three from Loddo, the rest from the Czech won won stages in Tour of Rhodes and Murcia as well), but the 1-2 in the opening half-stage, featuring both the older and younger generation of Lampre sprinters, was not part of the team’s plans, as Svorada himself explained in post-race interviews. “There was no previous agreement between us, in the last part of the ride I wasn’t feeling good, so I told Alberto to have a go at the sprint. But I stayed on his wheels and came round him in the very last part of the race. Either of us made his own try.
According to Loddo’s version "I started my sprint a bit too early, wheras I usually prefer to come out in the very final meters. Jan prefers a more gradual acceleration instead”. But things took a different turn today. Aggod one for both ahyway, as Loddo croosed the line with his rams raised, and the danger of an inner quarrel between Lampre’s fastest guys in this race was avoided by the great result they achieved.
Worthy of a mention is also Vassili Davidenko’s tenth place. An excellent result for the Navigators Cycling Team, back to the race where they didn’t exactly make history twelve months ago.
The second half-stage of the day, a Team Time Trial covering 8.2-km in nearby Rimini, which took place in the afternoon, saw Lampre add another triumph to theior palaares: the boys in pink and blue beat Saeco (again), wity Landbouwkrediet-Colnago taking third. Navigators snatched 13th place, while Flanders-IteamNova took 18th.
In the half-stage classification the time gaps were not the "actual" ones, but were "decided" according to a "pre-established table", with each team being awarded two more seconds than the one finishing right ahead.
Needless to say, Czech veteran Jan Svorada is the overall leader after the first day of competition.
STAGE 1a (Riccione - Riccione, km. 84)
1. Jan Svorada (Cze - Lampre) - s.t.
2. Alberto Loddo (Ita - Lampre) - s.t.
3. Ivan Quaranta (Ita - Saeco) - s.t.
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi - Fassa Bortolo) - s.t.
5. Zoran Klemencic (Slo - Tenax) - s.t.
6. Guillermo Ruben Bongiorno (Arg - Panaria-Fiordo) - s.t.
7. Graziano Gasparre (Ita - De Nardi-Colpack) - s.t.
8. Mario Manzoni (Ita - Mercatone Uno - Scanavino) - s.t.
9. Yury Metlushenko (Ukr - Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) - s.t.
10. Vassili Davidenko (Rus - Navigators Cycling Team) - s.t.
STAGE 1b (Rimini, TTT - km. 8.2)
1. Lampre - 08'47"76
2. Saeco - at 02"
3. Landbouwkrediet-Colnago - at 04"
4. Fassa Bortolo - at 06"
5. Mercatone Uno-Scanavino - at 08"
6. Cofidis - at 10"
7. Alessio - at 12"
8. Domina Vacanze-Elitron - at 14"
9. Panaria-Fiordo - at 16":
10. Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé-Ciarrocchi Imm. - at 18"
11. GS Vini Caldirola-Sidermec - at 20"
12. De Nardi-Colpack - at 22"
13. Navigators Cycling Team - at 24"
14. CCC-Polast - at 26"
15. Team Fakta - at 28"
16. Tenax - at 30"
17. Amore&Vita-Beretta - at 32"
18. Flanders-IteamNova - at 34"
19. e'Dsystems-ZVVZ - at 36"
20. Colombia-Selle Italia - at 38"
GC after Stage 1
1. Jan Svorada (Cze - Lampre)
2. Alberto Loddo (Ita - Lampre) - at 02"
3. Ivan Quaranta (Ita - Saeco) - at 06"
4. Mariano Piccoli (Ita - Lampre) - s.t.
5. Raimondas Rumsas (Lit - Lampre) - s.t.
6. Simone Bertoletti (Ita - Lampre) - s.t.
7. Daniele Righi (Ita - Lampre) - s.t.
8. Francesco Casagrande (Ita - Lampre) - s.t.
9. Fabio Sacchi (Ita - Saeco) - at 08"
10. Cristian Pepoli (Ita - Saeco) - s.t.
11. Danilo Di Luca (Ita - Saeco) - s.t.
12. Mirko Celestino (Ita - Saeco) - s.t.
24. Ivan Basso (Ita - Fassa Bortolo) - at 12"
28. Marco Pantani (Ita - Mercatone Uno-Scanavino)- at 14"