Antonio Quadranti wins three stages and Overall at 27th "Giro delle Regioni": The second most important stage-race reserved to U23 and Elite-2 riders in Italy, namely the "Giro delle Regioni" ("Tour of the Regions") ended up on Wednesday in San Giuliano Milanese, a town located in the outskirts of Milan, as the name may suggest.
The race was dominated by one man: 21-year-old Antonio Quadranti from Como (the city where Lance Armstrong used to live when in Italy at the early stages of his pro career ... must be a good place for riders) of the Sintofarm-Feralpi squad, who took three stages out of six, plus the final victory of course.
Quadranti started in the best possible way by soloeing to victory in the opening leg one week ago, disputed over 155.1 km. from San Ginesio to Camerino in the Marche region of Central Italy, with a 16" margin on Slovenian (not Rumanian as previously said) Tomaz Nose, and Italy's Sergio Marinangeli (Calzaturieri Montegranaro) taking third 18" behind the winner.
Stage 2 was a 23.8-km. Individual Time Trial from Santa Maria a PiÚ di Chenti to Morrovalle, and saw a East-European specialist take the line honours: Ukraine's Volodymyr Starchyk clocked a winning time of 34 minutes and 5 seconds, 2 seconds better than Italy's Maurizio Biondo (Cycling Team Casprini), with another Slavic rider, Russia's Valdimir Gusev, taking third at 4". The GC after 2 stages was featured by a bunch of East-Europeans chasing Overall Leader Quadranti: the Italian was leading by 10" on Gussev, 25" on Starchyk, 54" on Russia's Bespalov and 59" on Poland's Mariusz Wiesiak.
Stage 3 From Fabriano to Loro Ciuffenna in Tuscany over 179.7 km. was the longest one, and a very demanding too with 3 category-2 climbs. It was the worst day for Sintofarm and Quadranti, as the team had the situation uner control for most of the stage, but not in the very last part of the ride, when two guys went clear in the final cat.2 ascent, and made it to the finish line. The stage winner was Gianluca Coletta of Resine Ragnoli but, more important, runner-up was Russia's Alexandr Bespalov, who became new overall leaders as he previously was only 54" down on Gc, and Quadranti lost much more time. Third place getter in the stage was Coletta's teammate Paolo Longoborghini. As for the Overall Standings after three legs, Bespalov was leading by 20" on Quadranti, 32" on Gusev, 46" on Starchyk and 1'21" over Polish sensation Wiesiak.
But then Quadranti's big time came. The Lombard rider captured the two following legs: Stage 4 (Montevarchi - Bientina, 139.8 km.) including 3 ascents (one for each Category from 1 to 3) was featured by a Quadranti show, with the man clocking a winning time of 3h20'32", averaging a speed of 41.828km/h, and edging out fellow countryman Cristian Tosoni of the Sanpellegrino team by 8", with Poland's Szymon Kurdynowski taking third, 11" behind the winner. Quadranti regained the lead, with a 35" advantage on Gusev, 47" on Bespalov, 1'33" on Starchyk and 1'44" on the stage 4th place getter, Domenico Puzzovivo of Zoccorinese-Vellutex.
The final outcome of the competition was decided on Stage 5, the "queen stage" starting in Buti near Pisa and featuring an uphill finish to Passo Due Santi after 160.4 km. of racing. Quadranti caught and dropped escapers Boggia and Domenico Puzzovivo and soloed to victory, the third one in this race, the fourth in 2002, after he also won a contest at the beginning of April, and increased his gap on Gussev and Bespalov (who is currently riding for Russia's National Team, as all foreign contenders wear their national jersey in this race, but usually is a teammate of Quadranti at Sintofarm).
The sixth and Final stage, from Valenza Po in the Piedmont region to San Giuliano Milanese in Lombardy, was raced at a very high speed (more than 49 km/h) and ended in a bunch sprint, won by Ukraine's Yuryi Ivanov of Cycling Team Casprini, although riding for its country's national squad in the race, ahead of two more fast wheels such as Paride Grillo (Ceramiche Pagnoncelli) and Mirko Lorenzetto (Marchiol Hit-Site Frezza). Quadranti officially became the race overall champion, with a 1'46" winning margin on Vladimir Gusev, amd 2'04" on Alexander Bespalov.
The race was also featured by an Australian participation, but unfortunately the "young guns" from OZ, riding for the Australian Institute of Sports, didn't get any particularly good result. The Aussie squad was made up of Ashley Humbert, Gene Bates, Dave McPartland, Simon Gerrans, Adrian Laidler and David Pell.
Born in 1976, the "Giro delle Regioni" has got a Palmares featureing many a winner who later had his say say in the pro peloton too, including recent champions Giuliano Figueras, Fabio Malberti, Leonardo Giordani, Antonio Gasparre. Last year the contest was won by no less than the "Merckx of the Amateurs", Ukraine's Yaroslavl Popovych, then an U23 rider in the mighty Zoccorinese-Vellutex squad, now a pro set to make his debut in the WC Classics in Sunday's Amstel Gold race, with the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago outfit. The other podium places in 2001 were taken by two more riders now part of the pro cycling world: Italian Michele Scarponi (the Acqua e Sapone rookie who "broke the ice" some days ago by winning a Lombard Week stage), and current Saeco's "newbie" Damiano Cunego, both having excellent performances in recent pro races ... Is a similar future coming for Quadranti too ? Time will tell ...
BABY GIRO PRESENTED: The route of the 32th "Baby Tour of Italy", race reserved to U23 and Elite-2 riders to run from June 15 to 23, was unveiled on Thrsay in Mira, a town near Venice where the competition is scheduled to end after 1235 km. of racing.
The 9-stage race, won last year by Davide Frattini (brother of former pro Francesco, and currently a new pro rider himself), will get underway in Marsciano, in the Umbria region. The decisive leg will probably be a 25-km. Individual Time Trial in the penultimate day. The 9 stages are as follows:
Stage 1 - June 15: Marsciano - Marsciano - 144 km
Stage 2 - June 16: Arezzo - Arezzo - 155 km
Stage 3 - June 17: : Arezzo - Umbertide - 155 km
Stage 4 - June 18: : Umbertide - Civitanova Marche - 169 km
Stage 5 - June 19: Porto Sant'Elpidio - Monte San Vito - 149 km
Stage 6 - June 20: Monte San Vito - San Leo - 160 km
Stage 7a - June 21: Alonte Circuit - 76 km
Stage 7b - June 21: StrÓ - StrÓ - 56 km
Stage 8 - June 22: Camponogara - Fossy - 25 km, ITT
Stage 9 - June 23: Mira - Mira - 137 km
The "Daily Peloton" will be following the race and delivering you all the results and details.
Nelly Dermott wins Coppa Penna : Ireland's Nelly Dermott of the Maltinti Lampadari squad took his second victory of the year, by winning the 32th "Trofeo Penna", disputed on Wednesday in Italy, which ended in a 16-man sprint, with the English-speaker edging out piedmontese Guido Balbis of the Olio Vezza-Brunero team. Poland's David Sipocz (MCS Bedogni FamÓ) took third.
Results - TOP 5 Places :
1. Nelly Dermott (Irl - Maltinti Lampadeari) 135 km in 3h11' - av. speed 42,525 km/h;
2. Guido Balbis (Ita - GS Olio Vezza Brunero Boeris) -st;
3. David Sipocz (Pol - MCS Bedogni FamÓ) - st;
4. Ivan Fanelli (Ita - Grassi Mapei Las) - st;
5. Gianluca Cavalli (Ita - GS Olio Vezza Brunero Boeris) - st
Albanians from "Wag the Dog" to "Win the Race": In the fiction, they were a kind of scapegoat for some President to divert attention from domestic scandals. In the truth, they are not exctly known for being a cycling-mad people.
But on Thursday a (not yet) 14-year-old boy from Tirana managed to place his country's name in the cycling maps. Or at least in Italy's cycling related news, as young Enis Qordia, living in Tuscany with his parents since 1998, became the first ever Albanian to win a race in Italy. He won stage 1 of the 37th "Tour Reggiano" a prestigious competition usually disputed along with more famous "Trofeo Papa' Cervi" U23 race in the north of the country.
Shall we see this "champion of tomorrow", son of a worker and an housewife, and big fan of Michele Bartoli, lead Albania to compete with Italy, Belgium, France, Spain and the U.S. on the future Giro and TdF roads ? Once again time will tell ... In the meantime congratulations and best wishes to little Enis.