The 34th edition of the UCI-2.5 sanctioned Settimana Lombarda ("Lombard Week"), former Settimana Bergamasca, kicked off Friday with a 6.6-km. uphill Time Trial, from Casazza to Colle del Gallo, in the Bergamo area of northern Italy. And it started with a sensational 1-2-3 for the Domina Vacanze team, that swept the podium, courtesy of Italians Michele Scarponi, stage winner and first GC leader of the event, and Filippo Simeoni, third place finisher, plus Zimbabwean Timothy Jones, stage runner-up three seconds behind his team-mate.
Italian neo-pro Emanuele Sella of Ceramiche Panaria-Margres was the (surprising) best non-Domina finisher as he snatched fourth. Besides Jones, two more English-speakers managed a Top 10 finish: Britain's very own Jamie Burrow snatched seventh while South African Tian Kannemeyer of Team Barloworld took ninth. The biggest loser of the day was reigning champion Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio of Mexico: despite being the red hot favourite to take the win, the Panaria climber couldn't get higher than 22nd, more than a minute behind the actual winner.
As for Scarponi, the 24-year-old from Filottrano, in the Marche Region of Eastern Italy, scored his second victory of the season, after another "Settimana" stage win (in that case it was at the "Settimana Coppi & Bartali", where he also finished third overall), and said "this was a team victory. We went fast, I didn't expect such a performance", adding that "I'm in a good condition, I pushed hard in the Time Trial, with Filippo's (Simeoni) time providing me with a reference point, and that helped me to have a better handling of my legs. The route was very difficult, and rain and wind made the challenge even harder. But this victory gives me a moral boost for my next objectives, LBL included".
The Italian stage race, which ends Monday, resumes Saturday with a 162-km. leg starting in Roncadelle and finishing into the same hamlet in the Brescia province of Lombardy. Tim Jones won the Roncadelle-Roncadelle stage twelve months ago. Will the in-form Zimbabwean prove able to repeat victory ?
34th Settimana Lombarda - Stage 1 (Colle del Gallo ITT, 6.6 km.)
1. Scarponi, Michele (Ita - Domina Vacanze) - 15' 22" (25.770 kph)
2. Jones, Timothy (Zim - Domina Vacanze) - at 03"
3. Simeoni, Filippo (Ita - Domina Vacanze) - at 12"
4. Sella, Emanuele (Ita - Panaria Margres) - at 15"
5. Niemec, Przemyslav (Pol - Team Miche) - at 17"
6. Romanik, Radoslav (Pol - Hoop CCC Polsat) - at 22"
7. Burrow, Jamie (GBR - Amore & Vita) - at 24"
8. Lopeboselli, Angelo (Ita - Team LPR Piacenza) - at 27"
9. Kannemeyer, Tiaan (RSA - T. Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli) - at 30"
10. Boggia, Stefano (Ita - Team Icet) - at 30"
11. Muraglia, Giuseppe (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavè) - at 40"
12. Khalilov, Mykhaylo (Ukr - Team Icet) - at 41"
13. Palumbo, Giuseppe (Ita - Acqua & Sapone) - at 42"
14. Cappè, Matteo (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavè) - at 43"
15. Di Grande, Giuseppe (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavè)
Complete Stage 1 results available Here (PDF File Format).