One of the most promising Italian sprinters around, the young Danilo Napolitano, notched up his second success so far this season as he was the winner of the half-stage which opened the Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali (Coppi & Bartali International Week), the stage race named after two Italy's greatest riders ever (if not Italy's two greatest riders at all). The Lampre fastman was the quickest in the bunch sprint at the end of the 95.2-km. effort (eight laps of a circuit of about a dozen kms) both starting and finishing at the Adriatic seaside resort of Riccione, in the eastern part of the Italian peninsula, on Tuesday morning.
The stage took place in adverse weather conditions, prompting race officials to neutralize it at the top of the Scacciano climb (7k to the line), so that riders could take in the final (and dangerous, courtesy of the wet roads there) descent to the line more comfortably, without taking excessive risks. As a consequence, the first GC leader of the event isn't stage winner Napolitano but fellow Italian Graziano Gasparre (Amore & Vita-McDonald's), first across the top of the climb after he launched a solo attack on the Scaccione slopes, while Germany's Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) stands atop the Young Riders Classification.
The race resumes on the afternoon with a TTT covering a dozen kilometers around the nearby town of Misano Adriatico.
Stage 1 (Riccione-Riccione, 95 km.): Top Results
1. Danilo Napolitano (Ita - Lampre Fondital) - 02h22'46" (40.009 kph)
2. Elia Rigotto (Ita - Team Milram) - s.t.
3. Murilo Fischer (Bra - Naturino Sapore di Mare) - s.t.
4. Crescenzo D'Amore (Ita - Acqua & Sapone) - s.t.
5. Olaf Pollack (Ger - T-Mobile) - s.t.
6. Graziano Gasparre (Ita - Amore & Vita McDonald's) - s.t.
7. Heinrich Haussler (Ger - Gerolsteiner) - s.t.
8. Brett Lancaster (Aus - Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) - s.t.
9. Paolo Bossoni (Ita - Tenax) - s.t.
10. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita - Tenax) - s.t.
Napolitano's wet - and winning - sprint at Riccione.
Photo Courtesy Photoreporter Sirotti. All Rights Reserved.