In recent years, the Daily Peloton - and especially our Italian gem - Fabio has kept a watchful eye on the results of young guns across Europe. One of those followed most closely by Fabio has been the bullet-fast sprinter Paride Grillo who, today, took his first victory as a professional. Since impressing as a stagiare with Ceramica Panaria in the Tour of Britain last year after some impressive results on the Italian amateur racing scene, Grillo hasn’t looked back and has been able to celebrate a host of top ten results in as well as several second-place near misses in his neo-pro year - two at the Tour Down Under, and one behind Cipollini at the Giro della Provincia di Lucca. And it's only April!
Today in Hayange, the prodigious 23 year old secured his maiden victory in the way he's used to, pounding on the pedals in a frantic bunch sprint to win the final stage of the Circuit de Lorraine (2.1), beating leader Andris Nauduzs (Naturino-Sapore di Mare) and Mark Renshaw (Francaise des Jeux) for honours on the line. While another stage would have been the icing on the cake for Nauduzs, he nonetheless took the overall, having never relinquished the lead since the crucial breakaway on day one. Japanese rider Koji Fukushima must also be lauded for his impressive performance, as he held tenaciously onto second overall. This victory, coupled with Luca Mazzanti’s win at the GP Industria, it has indeed been a very industrious day for Ceramica Panaria.
Grillo will be one of a small number of neo-pros racing in the Giro d’Italia next weekend, but nobody can say he doesn’t merit his place on the team; he must be the most consistent neo-pro of the year. And though Fabio, in his clairvoyance, said “ Maybe he’s not the Cipollini of the 2010s, but you’ll likely hear Grillo’s name more than once in the future”, Paride Grillo could well be up there, fighting it out for a sprint stage with the best of them (Petacchi, McEwen et al) in the first Grand Tour of the season.
Paride Grillo - good sprinter, shame about the haircut. Photo by Fabio.
Stage 5 - Thionville - Hayange, 158km - Top 20
1. Paride Grillo (Ceramica Panaria, Ita)
2. Andris Nauduzs (Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Lit) at same time
3. Mark Renshaw (Francaise des Jeux, Aus) s.t
4. Leonardo Duque (Jartazi Revor Granville Team, Col) s.t
5. Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r Prévoyance, Fra) s.t
6. Brett Lancaster (Ceramica Panaria, Aus) s.t
7. Remco van der Ven (Rabobank Continental, Ned) s.t
8. Damien Nazon (Crédit Agricole, Fra) s.t
9. Saulius Ruskys (Agritubel, Lit) s.t
10. Igor Abakoumov (Jartazi Revor Granville Team, Bel) s.t
11. Steven Caethoven (Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, Bel) s.t
12. Kurt Hovelynck (Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, Bel) s.t
13. Andy Flickinger (Ag2r Prevoyance, Fra) s.t
14. Matic Strgar (Radenska Rog, Slo) s.t
15. Laurent Mangel (Ag2r Prevoyance, Fra) s.t
16. Sven Renders (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Bel) s.t
17. Kenny Lisabeth (Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, Bel) s.t
18. Jaan Kirsipuu (Crédit Agricole, Est) s.t
19. Mitja Mahoric (Perutnina Ptuj, Slo) s.t
20. Denis Haueisen (RSH, Ger) s.t
Final General Classification - Top 20
1. Andris Nauduzs (Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Lit) 14h 15m 12s
2. Koji Fukushima (Team Bridgestone-Anchor, Jap) at 0’55”
3. Sven Renders (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Bel) at 0’57”
4. Bradley Wiggins (Credit Agricole, Gbr) at 1’51”
5. Massimiliano Mori (Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Ita) at 2’01”
6. Mitja Mahorica (Perutnina Ptuj) at 2’04”
7. Murilo Fischer (Naturino-Sapore di Mare) at 2'05"
8. Brett Lancaster (Ceramicha Panaria, Aus) s.t
9. Jose Antonio Martinez (Agritubel-Loudun, Spa) at 2’07”
10. Sergiy Matveyev (Ceramicha Panaria, Ukr) at 2’08”
11. Mathieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom, Fra) at 2'09"
12. Mathieu Heijboer (Rabobank Continental, Ned) at 2'20"
13. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r Prevoyance, Ukr) at 2'23"
14. Stéphane Berges (Agritubel, Fra) at 2'28"
15. Michiel Elijzen (Rabobank Continental, Ned) at 2'32"
16. Julien Mazet (Auber 93, Fra) at 2'43"
17. Benjamin Levecot (R.A.G.T. Semences, Fra) at 2'48"
18. Eric Berthou (R.A.G.T. Semences, Fra) at 2'49"
19. Mario De Sarraga (Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Spa) at 2'54"
20. Yannick Talabardon (Crédit Agricole, Fra) at 2'58"