Thursday: time for the Men’s Junior Road Race at the Italian Nationals, held over 124.1 km. between Cartoceto and Saltara in the Marche region of central Italy, and dominated by the Verdellese-Dielle-Telmec squad. Two members of the Bergamo-based team, Enrico Peruffo and Mauro Finetto, won the gold and silver medal.
Peruffo, born in the Piedmontese town of Moncalieri on August 8, 1985, is one of the best riders in the Junior Category, and got his fourth win so far this season on Thursday, as he took the title after missing a podium place by five seconds only in Tuesday’s Individual Time Trial. An ITT that saw Veneto’s regional champion Mauro Finetto take second, just like he did today. The rider from Verona brings home two silver medals; a prestigious result for sure, but also something that could make you see the glass as half empty rather than half full.
After several skirmishes coming throughout the race, that was held in a very hot climate (just like most of the competitions currently taking place in Southern Europe), Enrico Peruffo launched an all-out attack with a little more than 1 km. to go, and no one was capable of following him, while team-mate Finetto did an excellent job in slowing down the pace of the chasing bunch.
The race ended in the best possible way for the Verdellese-Dielle-Telmec duo, with Peruffo preserving a very slim lead, that proved enough for the man to clinch the title anyway, and Finetto leading the peloton home to take second. Ligurian Mauro Battaglia of the US Signori captured the remaining podium place.
In post-race interviews, an emotional Enrico Peruffo dedicated his victory to Mauro Gadda, a close friend of his and a fellow rider that passed away at the age of 16 in early June, when he was knocked down by a car “All I was thinking about in the last 200 metres was him. I was hearing ten thousand voices, all of them telling me to win for Marco”. Peruffo is from the outskirts of Turin, but lives in Vertova (Bergamo province of Lombardy) and, when asked about his skills, said “I prefer others to talk about that. In my opinion I am a good all-rounder anyway, able to do well in long races. I hope that this success may help me to get a place in a good amateur team, where I can improve further. But so far I haven’t got any offer”.
The future of two-time runner-up Mauro Finetto looks less uncertain: "Within the week-end I’ll have talks that could prove decisive for my move to the amateur team Unidelta, coached by (former professional rider) Bruno Leali”. As for his performances at the Nationals, the very young gun from Verona said that “After two second places there’s some disappointment, but at least I proved that I’m a complete rider”.
The race was marked not just by the Verdellese-Dielle-Telmec’s showdown, but also by a new episode of the “medical records” soap, with even more confusion and polemics than yesterday. Indeed while “only” some 10 contenders were sidelined on Wednesday for not delivering medical records to the Italian Cycling Federation in time, today no less than 29 teen-agers were denied their right to compete in (what for many of them was) the most important race so far in their career for similar bureaucratic reasons: their medical records were incomplete or simply came too late.
Some of the boys broke into the tears, while their directors were accusing the FCI of excessive bureaucratization. But once again the “rules are rules” principle won, and at the end of this “drama” the race got underway with the peloton missing 20% of the previously registered riders (including the whole Sicilian, Calabrian and Lucanian teams), and with a 20-minute delay.
Italian Nationals/Junior Men’s RR (Cartoceto-Saltara 124,1 km) – Top 10
1. Enrico Peruffo (Verdellese-Dielle-Telmec) - 03h16’00” (37.990 km/h)
2. Mauro Finetto (Verdellese-Dielle-Telmec) - at 01”
3. Marco Battaglia (VC Signori) - s.t.
4. Luca D’Osvaldi (Ima-Moro-Spercenigo) - s.t.
5. Andrea Pagoto (Cycling Nial Nizzoli) - at 02”
6. Cristiano Colombo (US Palazzago) - s.t.
7. Eros Capecchi (US Arianna) - s.t.
8. Michele Gaia (Aspiratori Otelli Cas. Zani) - s.t.
9. Marco Colombo (SC Biringhello) - at 16”
10. Stefano Ciatti (Team Danilo Gallina) - s.t.
Friday will be a very busy day at the “Settimana Tricolore.”, with no less than three different races set to take place: gentlemen will have to tackle the Elite-2 race, going from Ancora to the same Saltara, whereas it will be Time Trial Time for the ladies, with “races of the truth” coming for both the Elite Women and Junior Women categories.