PECCIOLI, ITALY: As a child, he was a trumpet player in the town band of Busseto, Giuseppe Verdi's hometown. Then he chose cycling. But music still is an important part of his life. And what a perfect symphony 27-year-old sprinter Paolo Bossoni of Vini Caldirola-SO.DI. played on his bike on Thursday afternoon, as he won the 51st edition of "Coppa Sabatini - Gran Premio Cittá di Peccioli ", one of the last "Pre-mondiali" (pre-World Championship races) held on Italian soil, in the tuscan town of peccioli, hometown of Giuseppe Sabatini, the rider of 1930s and 1940s this contest is named after.
The man from San Secondo Parmense, who will hardly be part of the Squadra Azzurra at Hamilton (although Team Coach Ballerini might - BIG might - change his mind and be persuaded by Bossoni's performance at Peccioli) took his first win of the current season as he outsprinted a man that will definitely get into the Italian National Team, e.g. Quick Step's Luca Paolini, with Saeco's Mirko Celestino filling the other podium spot.
The race featured by a high quality field, including more than a favourite for the upcoming Worlds, from #1 favourite Paolo Bettini to Switzerland's Oscar Camenzind. But most, if not all, of them finished in the arrears, probably using this competion as a further training. A training that continued even after the race was over for Bettini, his most loyal leadout-man Paolini and Davide Bramati, who got on their bikes again and headed for "The Cricket's" hometown of La California, not far from the place where the finishing line was located.
Bossoni and all other top finishers were part of a 20-something strong leading group, that broke away with about 50k to go, halved around the last km. after a couple attempts by Gianluca Tonetti first, and Fabio Sacchi (working for team leader Celestino) later. More attacks came, with Slovenia's Gorazd Stangelj and Russian Alexandr Kolobnev as main protagonists, but it was the young sprinter from Parma that made the right move at the right time.
Paolo Bossoni - Biographical notes: Born in San Secondo Parmense(Parma province of northern italy) on the second of July, 1976, Paolo Bossoni turned a professional rider in 1999 with Cantina Tollo, the same team he was riding for in the year 2000, when he got his first win, in a Tour of Spain stage.
The following season Bossoni moved to TACCONI SPORT-VINI CALDIROLA (now Vini Caldirola-So.Di.), and added two more victories to his palmares: a Brixia Tour stage in Brescia, as well as the Giro del Lago Maggiore. His last success before today's (apart the Points Classification at Giro della Liguria, if we must take this one into consideration too) came in late June 2002, when he captured the GP Industria e Artigianato Larciano, one more time on Italian soil.
The Vini Caldirola rider really came close to a very prestigious success in the past July, when he ranked second to Servais Knaven in Stage 17 of the Tour de France.
51st Coppa Sabatini (197.7 km.)- Top 10 Places & Others:
1. Paolo Bossoni (Ita - Vini Caldirola-So.Di) - 04h59'21" (39.626 km/h)
2. Luca Paolini (Ita - Quick Step-Davitamon)
3. Mirko Celestino (Ita - Team Saeco)
4. Alexander Kolobnev (Rus - Domina Vacanze-Elitron)
5. Gorazd Stangelj (Slo - Fassa Bortolo)
6. Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita - Panaria Fiordo)
7. Martin Elmiger (Swi - Phonak)
8. Ruggero Borghi (Ita - Mercatone Uno-Scanavino)
9. José Ivan Gutiérrez Palacio (Spa - iBanesto.com)
10. Massimo Codol (Ita - Mercatone Uno-Scanavino)
...16. Mario Scirea (Ita - Domina Vacanze-Elitron) a 13"
18. Fabio Sacchi (Ita - Team Saeco) a 1'25"
23. Andrea Ferrigato (Ita - Alessio) a 8'50"
26. Andrea Noč (Ita - Alessio)
33. Elio Aggiano (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé-C.I.)
42. Oscar Camenzind (Swi - Phonak)
55. Stefano Garzelli (Ita - Vini Caldirola-So.Di)
65. Michele Bartoli (Ita - Fassa Bortolo)
76. Roman Vainsteins (Lat - Vini Caldirola-So.Di.)
81. Paolo Bettini (Ita - Quick Step Davitamon) - at 08'50".
82. Danilo Di Luca (Ita - Team Saeco) - s.t.
Post-race Interviews - Paolo Bossoni : The race winner is still hopeful for a spot in Italy's National Team "I would really like to get a place, but if it shouldn't happen, it wouldn't be much of a tragedy to me. I'd just stay home and root for the others".
As for the race itself, Bossoni said that "This is my first win in 2003, but comes after four second and as many other good placings. I got into the top 10 of almost all races I took part in during the last two months. And this victory at Coppa Sabatini is the prize for all sacrifices I did in times worse than these. Throughout the past week my DS Franco Gini steadily told me that I was going to win in Peccioli. He's been a good guesser indeed. I want to dedicate my success to myself first, and later to my family and supporters, and to the Vini Caldirola Team. In other words, to everyone".
In the near future, Bossoni is going to skip Saturday's Giro dell'Emilia, and get back to racing on Sunday at Trofeo Beghelli (former Milano-Vignola), followed by Giro della Provincia di Lucca and Paris-Tours in early October.
Post-race Interviews - Luca Paolini: Words from the runner-up, for one playing the part of team leader, although when in Canada he'll get back to his "usual" status of Paolo Bettini's #1 domestique: "I simply can't get a win. Bettini let me have my own race, and I kept the hope until the very end; I even hang on on the climbs, but it proved pointless".
Post-race Interviews - Mirko Celestino: The man in red got an excellent result, but will this be enough for the Ligurian to get a spot in the National Team ? Probably not, as the same, unconfident Celestino sounded aware of "Today I had to get into all breakaways. But I think that in the end, when in the good one, I paid for all of my previous efforts, and ran out of steam with 150m left. Well, this is just one of the many placings I got this season, that make me guess Ballerini didn't even take me into consideration before today. At this point all I can do is save this good form and try and be a protagonist at the Giro di Lombardia".
Coppa Sabatini - Full Palmares
2003: Paolo Bossoni (Ita)
2002: Paolo Bettini (Ita)
2001: Dmitri Konyshev (Rus)
2000: Andrej Tchmil (Bel)
1999: Dmitri Konyshev (Rus)
1998: Emmanuel Magnien (Fra)
1997: Andrea Tafi (Ita)
1996: Bjarne Riis (Den)
1995: Davide Cassani (Ita)
1994: Maurizio Fondriest (Ita)
1993: Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)
1992: Stefano Zanini (Ita)
1991: Franco Chioccioli (Ita)
1990: Moreno Argentin (Ita)
1989: Maurizio Fondriest (Ita)
1988: Claudio Corti (Ita)
1987: Gianni Bugno (Ita)
1986: Jean-Francois Bernard (Fra)
1985: Marino Amadori (Ita)
1984: Silvano Contini (Ita)
1983: Moreno Argentin (Ita)
1982: Giuseppe Saronni (Ita)
1981: Claudio Bortolotto (Ita)
1980: Gianbattista Baronchelli (Ita)
1979: Leonardo Mazzantini (Ita)
1978: Francesco Moser (Ita)
1976: Piero Spinelli (Ita)
1975: Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)
1974: Wilmo Franconi (Ita)
1973: Mauro Simonetti (Ita)
1972: Antoine Houbrechts (Bel)
1971: Roberto Poggiali (Ita)
1970: Gösta Pettersson (Swe)
1969: Romano Tumllereo (Ita)
1968: Franco Bitossi (Ita)
1967: Michele Dancelli (Ita)
1966: Franco Bitossi (Ita)
1965: Luciano Armani (Ita)
1964: Italo Zilioli (Ita)
1963: Dino Bruni (Ita)
1962: Giovanni Sabbadin (Ita)
1961: Dino Bruni (Ita)
1960: Graziano Battistini (Ita)
1959: Rino Benedetti (Ita)
1958: Giuseppe Pardini (Ita)
1957: Gianbattista Gabelli (Ita)
1956 :Idrio Bui (Ita)
1955: Angelo Miserocchi (Ita)
1954: Rino Benedetti (Ita)
1953: Primo Volpi (Ita)
1952: Primo Volpi (Ita)
More details and results to follow.