Team Time Trials come to Italy. Better, Switzerland, as the first half of the opening leg of the 40th “Giro della Valle d’Aosta” (10th "Memorial Diego Pellegrini"), an Under-23, Elite-2 race organized by Italy’s S.C. Valdostana, featuring some 135 starters from Italian, French, Swiss and Russian squads, and past winners such as Gilberto Simoni, Ivan Gotti and Wladimir Belli, kicked off on Tuesday with a 11.5-km. TTT both starting and finishing in the Swiss town of Conthey.
Team Time Trials are not such common practice in Italian cycling, and squads from the Top country in the UCI Rankings are not that used to similar races against the clock. So it was no surprise that the very first ride in the six-stage contest was won by foreign Velo Club La Pomme Marseille, a strong team from France that claimed the half-stage ahead of Bici Team San Doná and powerhouse Ceramiche Pagnoncelli.
But it didn’t take long for Italians to take revenge: the second half of Stage 1, a 102.6-km. ride from Switzerland’s Saint Maurice to the French hamlet of Les Carroz saw one of Italy’s most promising youngsters, 22-year-old climber Emauele Sella from Vicenza, riding with the Veneto-based Zalf Desireé Fior outfit. Sella, ninth place getter at the recent European Championships won by Sicilian Giacomo Visconti, managed to grab victory from 2002 Overall Winner Marco Marzano (Ceramiche Pagnoncelli) and Swiss Teammate Oliver Zaugg.
All (half) stage podium finishers were part of a six-man break that formed earlier in the race, also containing Italians Paolo Bailetti (Ceramiche Pagnoncelli), Stefano Boggia (Olio Vezza Brunero) and Maurizio Varini (Dellese Feralpi). The last two guys got dropped in the last ascent of the day, while thanks to Pagnoncelli’s Top 3 place in the TTT plus his own second placing in Tuesday afternoon’s leg, reigning champion Marzano moved to the Top of the GC, with Emanuele Sella as runner-up.
Wednesday’s all-French Stage 2 takes riders from Les Carroz to Peisey Nancroix over 136.3 km.
40th “Giro della Valle D’Aosta” – Stage 1 A
(Conthey – Conthey, 11.5 Km. – TTT)
1. VELO CLUB LA POMME MARSEILLE (France)
2. BICI TEAM SAN DONA' (Italy)
3. G.S.CERAMICHE PAGNONCELLI (Italy)
40th “Giro della Valle D’Aosta” – Stage 1 B
(Saint Maurice – Les Carroz, 98.3 Km.)
1. EMANUELE SELLA (Ita - Zalf Desirée Fior)
2. MARCO MARZANO (Ita – G.S. Ceramiche Pagnoncelli)
3. OLIVER ZAUGG (Swi - Zalf Desirée Fior)
40th “Giro della Valle D’Aosta” – GC after Stage 1 B
1. MARCO MARZANO (Ita – G.S. Ceramiche Pagnoncelli)
2. EMANUELE SELLA (Ita - Zalf Desirée Fior)
40th “Giro della Valle D’Aosta” – Stages
*1a (Tuesday – Sept. 2): Conthey–Conthey (Swi), 1.5 km. (TTT);
*1b (Tuesday – Sept. 2): Saint Maurice (Swi)–Les Carroz (Fra), 98.3 km.;
*2 (Wednesday – Sept. 3): Les Carroz–Peisey Nancroix (Fra), 136.3 km.;
*3 (Thursday – Sept. 4): Landry (Fra)–Valgrisenche (Ita), 118.3 km.;
*4 (Friday – Sept. 5): Arvier (Ita)–Montjovet (Ita), 126.600 km.;
*5 (Saturday – Sept. 6): Montjovet–Chatillon (Ita), 133 km.;
*6 (Sunday – Sept. 7): Chatillon–Pont Saint Martin (Ita), 97.2 km.