Neapolitan fastman Crescenzo D'Amore of Acqua e Sapone-Caffé Mokambo beat Czech sprinter Jan Svorada (Lampre) and Guido "L'Americano" Trenti of Fassa Bortolo across the line today in the third stage of Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali, covering 175.5 kms. between Finale Emilia and Scandiano. Navigators' Irishman Ciaran Power scored another excellent Top 10 finish.
So far this year D'Amore has had several good results, including a second place at Giro della Riviera Ligure di Ponente and a third at Gran Premio Costa degli Etruschi in February. But notably a runner-up spot in Wednesday's opening stage of this same Italian event, when he lost to Graziano Gasparre, just to take revenge 48 hours later; a truly appreciated gift for his upcoming (April 02) twenty-fifth birthday.
Thursday's stage winner Mirko Celestino of Saeco held onto the leader's jersey.
D'Amore got his first "real" success as a professional rider, apart from a stage of the no longer held Tour of Argentina in the year 2000, his first season in the pro ranks. He was one of best prospects of Italian cycling in the late 90s anyway; he also grabbed the World Road Title at San Sebastian in 1997. He became a professional rider with Mapei at a very young age (like other very talented young guns, such as Fabian Cancellara, did), just to move to Maglierie Cage in 2002, then to Tenax in 2003, and now to Acqua&Sapone.
But because of different reasons, prolly including quite a "slacker" attitude too, the man from the town of Brusciano, in the outskirts of Naples, didn't live up to expectations in his first years in the pro ranks: "Did I turn a pro too early, and in too a big team for a little boy ? Well, it's always hard to say no when a team like Mapei wants you. But I also think that I'd think twice before making that choice again. At the time I needed to grow up and find the right desire for redemption. I also wondered more than once whether I had really chosen the right job. And even today, while taking a shower after the race, I kept asking myself "Crescé, are you really sure (you wanna do this job)?" he said when chatting with the press after his win.
Things recently took a different turn anyway, as the Acqua e Sapone (Water and Soap) squad washed away much of his "lazy" attitude: as team doctor Daniele Tarsi confessed "I think that D'Amore has never worked so much and so hard as he did this past winter". He worked on his power, he worked on his sprinting skills, he attended three team camps, and today we could finally see some results come.
Results that made Water & Soap's team bosses Palmiro Masciarelli (a former pro, and father of current professional riders Simone and Andrea Masciarelli) and Franco Gini happy "We just needed to believe in such a rider, who won so many races in younger classes, and give him a chance: this kind of winners cannot get lost all of a sudden in such a way. (This year) he first lost in a photofinish sprint to a certain Filippo Pozzato only, and got four second place finishes. (I knew that) victory was about to come, sooner or later", said former Vini Caldirola DS Gini.
A victory that, after joking a bit with journalists ("Wow, are you really here for me? I was no longer accustomed to that") in post-race interviews, smiling D'Amore dedicated to Ciro, a 6-year-old disabled person from Brusciano: "to stay beside him, to ask about him every day, helped me grow and become more responsible, and helped me believe again in this sport, and all the sacrifices it implies".
The Acqua & Sapone fastman, who is used to train on the roads of his home region Campania with Giuliano Figueras, Raffaele Illiano and neopros Antonio D'Aniello and Pasquale Muto, added that "I think I'm a sprinter, but I noticed that I can do well in more demanding finishes too. But don't compare me to any other sprinter, I simply wouldn't bear comparison".
Courtesy GS Emilia.
Stage 3 (Finale Emilia-Scandiano, 175 km): Top 10 Places
1. Crescenzo D'Amore (Ita - Acqua&Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) - 04h22''06''
2. Jan Svorada (Cze - Lampre) - s.t.
3. Guido Trenti (USA - Fassa Bortolo) - s.t.
4. Antonio Salomone (Ita - Team Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli) - s.t.
5. Francesco Chicchi (Ita - Fassa Bortolo) - s.t.
6. Marco Zanotti (Ita - Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie) - s.t.
7. Massimo Giunti (Ita - Domina Vacanze) - s.t.
8. Cristian Moreni (Ita - Alessio-Bianchi) - s.t.
9. Ivan Fanelli (Ita - Amore & Vita-Beretta ) - s.t.
10. Ciaran Power (Irl - Navigators CT) - s.t.
GC after Stage 3: Top 10 Places
1. Mirko Celestino (Ita - Saeco) - 12h50'37''
2. Giuliano Figueras (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - at 05''
3. Leonardo Bertagnoli (Ita - Saeco) - at 10''
4. Andrea Noè (Ita - Alessio-Bianchi) - at 11''
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita - Alessio-Bianchi) - s.t.
6. Luca Mazzanti (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - at 14''
7. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Domina Vacanze) - s.t.
8. Ruggero Marzoli (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) - at 17''
9. Massimiliano Gentili (Ita - Domina Vacanze) - at 23''
10. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) - s.t.