187 riders lined up on the start of the Vuelta a España yesterday afternoon, among them was a rider no one expected to see - no one, that is, except the man himself. Andrea Moletta made headlines in March for all the wrong reasons when he crashed out of Milano-Sanremo in a horrific accident while descending the Cipressa as part of the leading breakaway. Moletta's crash was so severe that Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer immediately thought the talented Italian's season was over, yet while he was being loaded into the ambulance Moletta leaned over and said to his manager, "Hans, I'll see you at the Vuelta!" Now six months later, Moletta is indeed lining up for the Spanish event, Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with the tough 28 year old to find out just how he came good on his word.
March 24, 2007, Milano-Sanremo, "La Classicissima di Primavera": With just over 25 km to go in the biggest one day race of the year for any Italian, Moletta slipped into a leading escape group with Liquigas' Franco Pellizotti and Yaroslav Popovych of Discovery Channel, two very capable riders to have alongside you when the peloton is breathing down your neck just 20 seconds back. For an Italian, this is the equlivant to riding away on the Muur van Geradsbergen in the Tour of Flanders for a Belgian, in other words, it's huge.
But for Andrea Moletta, the move quickly turned from being one of his brightest moments in his career to being one of the darkest. While descending the Cipressa, a tight decent on the streets of the Italian coastal town of S.Lorenzo a Mare, Moletta suddenly veered left on a right hand bend for no apparent reason, losing control and slamming at high speed into a lamp post before tumbling into one of the low stone walls common in this part of Italy.
To read the full interview with Andrea Moletta, click here.