85th Coppa Bernocchi (UCI 1.3), Legnano-Legnano, Italy,
Giunti celebrates too soon, Sergio Barbero wins!
THE RACE HISTORY: The Coppa Bernocchi is the third and final race of the "Trittico Lombardo", usually coming on Thursday, following the "Tre Valli Varesine" and the "Coppa Agostoni". It is held in the surroundings of Legnano, a big city in western Lombardia, just north of Milano. It is a very traditional race, now in its 85th edition (it wasn't held only once, in 1943, because of the war). It is organized by the Unione Sportiva Legnanese, and it is dedicated not to a sport personality, but to a local politician and benefactor, member of the Italian parliament at the beginning of the last century.
THE ROUTE: Legnano-Legnano, 199 km; the most important part of the parcours is a 17 km circuit, to be repeated 7 times, which includes 2 climbs: the "Piccolo Stelvio" ("Little Stelvio"), just 1000 metres, but very steep, and named that way because its 6 bends (in just 1 km.) made it look like the more famous Stelvio climb. The other ascent is a little longer, and comes just after the "Piccolo Stelvio."
THE LESSON - Sometimes only experience will teach us a lesson that we already know the answer to. Massimo Giunti learned the hardest way possible today that the race is not over until the line is crossed. The 29 year old from Pesaro had done everything right today. He had got in the 12 man break that had closed down on early breakaway Daniele Contrini (Gerolsteiner). When the two Lampre men, Ratti and Sergio Barbero, had decided, quite rightly, to use their team's numerical advantage to try to split the twelve men Giunti followed every move.
In spite of the efforts of Elio Aggiano, the small bunch sprint was inevitable as the riders turned the final corner. Massimo Giunti has obviously learned a lot from his time in the Zebra team and he jumped early and seemed to have the race easily won.
Then to the astonishment of the spectators who could see the events more clearly than the protagonists, Giunti stopped pedalling with 15 metres to the finish line, his hands aloft in triumph.
On a different day it would not have mattered, but 34 year old Sergio Barbero, determined to keep in racing next year, did not give up. To the horror of Giunti and the delight of Barbero, the old hand took the race by a tyre's width.
Massimo Giunti had the prize of a diamond worth 10,000€, for being the best placed rider in the Trittico Lombardo as consolation (ninth, fourth and second), but his disappointment, and frustration was hard to hide.
For Sergio Barbero, a first victory since the Japan Cup 2002, a great victory today and UCI points to negotiate a ride in next seasons pro peloton.
1. Sergio BARBERO (Ita, Lampre-Daikin) km 199 in 4.49'41", av 41,362
2. Massimo Giunti (Ita, Domina Vacanza-Elitron) s.t.
3. Sergiy Matveyev (Ucr, Panaria-Fiordo) s.t.
4. Ivanov (Mol) s.t.
5. Adveyev (Ucr) s.t.
6. Serri s.t.
7. Basso s.t.
8. Ratti s.t.
9. Galletti s.t.
10. Zanotti s.t.
1. Massimo GIUNTI (Domina Vacanze-Elitron) punti 23;
2. Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) 15;
3. Cristian Moreni (Alessio) 13.
4. Andrea Ferrigato (Alessio) 12.
5. Oscar Mason (Vini Caldirola-So.Di.) 11