While the snow came down in Belgium, in sufficient amount to cancel Omloop Het Volk, Franco "The Beast" Pellizotti, sporting his usual mad-scientist/perm haircut, made hay whilst the sun (almost) shined, scoring Alessio-Bianchi's second victory in two days - after Alessandro Bertolini's Giro di Lucca overall - with an opportunistic victory in Switzerland.
The 26 year old, winless since a Tour of Poland stage in 2002, fought off fellow young Italian climber (their birthdays in January 1978 are separated by a week) Leonardo Bertagnolli (Saeco) for victory.
Franco Pellizotti on a good hair day
- Courtesy Karen Lambrecht
Indeed, with two very-hilly circuits that shared the 167.5km route, it was never going to be a sprinter who won. Gradually, in a war of attrition, the bunch was worn down to 20 riders. Pellizotti and Bertagnolli - the first eighth in last year's Giro, the latter a valuable mountain domestique for Gilberto Simoni - attacked away with 60km still to go, but worked dilligently together to gain a gap on the field. The two Italians, using their language as a bonus, resisted the chase and ploughed on in the cold.
In the late stages, Cedric Vasseur made a bold attempt to bridge across, but he ended in no man's land, so it went down to a two-up sprint between the Italian youngsters. Although Bertagnolli kicked first, he had no gas left and Pellizotti, sensing this, came past him for a much-treasured win. Vasseur, still trying to throw off doping allegations after being questioned by French police for two days last month, held off the 'bunch' for third, thirteen seconds behind the Italians.
In a seventeen-man sprint, Fabien Wegmann was fast enough to gain two seconds in the sprint for fourth, whilst Mirko Celestino and the Zberg Brothers took out seventh to ninth.
A good note must go to Division III rider Ivan Fanelli, who flew to Switzerland after being stopped for being troppo in ritardo in the third stage of the Giro di Lucca, alongside 100 or so other cyclists. The Amore e Vita rider did superbly to take fifth at 24".
Several English speakers were amongst the 55 finishers, with the best being American David Clinger (Domina Vacanze). With his UCI details finally registered, Clinger was not quite strong enough to stay with the front group and was shelled, therefore finishing alone in 21st at 1'07".
This result is even more good news for Alessio-Bianchi, after the Giro di Lucca, for they also had Pietro Caucchioli and Noe' finish in the top twenty today. Caucchioli and Pellizotti will be riding Paris-Nice in about three weeks, and it should be interesting to see how they fare in the coming month - the same for Celestino and the Zbergs in the Classics.
GP Chiasso - Full Results
1 PELLIZOTTI, Franco ALB 4h 14' 35"
2 BERTAGNOLI, Leonardo SAE s. t.
3 VASSEUR, Cédric COF a 13"
4 WEGMANN, Fabian GST a 22"
5 FANELLI, Ivan AMO a 24"
6 ZINETTI, Mauro VIN s. t.
7 CELESTINO, Mirko SAE s. t.
8 ZBERG, Marcus GST s. t.
9 ZBERG, Beat GST s. t.
10 NOCENTINI, Rinaldo A&S s. t.
11 KOLOBNEV, Alexandr DVE s. t.
12 DUMA, Vladimir LAN s. t.
13 NOE', Andrea ALB s. t.
14 BESSY, Frédéric COF s. t.
15 BOTCHAROV, Alexandre C.A s. t.
16 BILEKA, Volodimir LAN s. t.
17 CAUCCHIOLI, Pietro ALB s. t.
18 LOPEBOSELLI, Angelo LPR s. t.
19 MONCOUTIE, David COF s. t.
20 CLINGER, David DVE a 1' 07"
21 RASTELLI, Ellis ALB a 1' 30"
22 LAGUTIN, Sergey LAN s. t.
23 GRYSHENKO, Ruslan LAN s. t.
24 POWER, Cirian NIC s. t.
25 FOFONOV, Dmitriy COF s. t.
26 SOLARI, Luca TBL s. t.
27 MUTO, Pasquale MIE s. t.
28 GAYNITDINOV, Dmitri ICT s. t.
29 PASSUELLO, Domenico AMO s. t.
30 ZAUGG, Oliver SDV s. t.
31 BURROW, Jamie AMO s. t.
32 BORGHI, Ruggiero DEN s. t.
33 SCHOLZ, Ronny GST s. t.
34 CUNEGO, Damiano SAE s. t.
35 GOLCER, Jure FPF s. t.
36 CHEULA, Giampaolo VIN s. t.
37 STRAUSS, Marcel GST s. t.
38 JURCO, Matej DEN a 2' 59"
39 HONDO, Danil GST a 4' 12"
40 CALCAGNI, Patrick VIN s. t.
41 BAZHENOV, Alexandre DVE s. t.
42 POZZI, Oscar TEN s. t.
43 LOBATO ELVIRA, Ruben SDV a 4' 36"
44 HALGAND, Patrice C.A a 6' 43"
45 BOURQUENOUD, Pierre RAG s. t.
46 POILVET, Benoît C.A s. t.
47 CLAIN, Médéric COF a 6' 56"
48 GALDOS, Aitor NIP s. t.
49 BERTOGLIATI, Rubens SDV s. t.
50 WEGELIUS, Charles DEN s. t.
51 FRATTINI, Cristiano TEN s. t.
52 MONFORT, Maxime LAN s. t.
53 MATZBACHER, Andreas SAE s. t.
54 GONZALEZ, Javier SDV s. t.
55 BALDWIN, Christopher NIC
Many thanks to http://www.vcchiasso.ch/index2.asp for results and info