By Jean-François Quénet in Terme di Comano
Stage 19 of the 2007 Giro d'Italia could have been a high point in Giovanni Visconti's young pro career. Coming second in Terme di Comano left the third-year pro a sense of regret because he didn't manage to regain the 43 seconds over Iban Mayo who went away earlier.
"I've given everything," he said at the finish line. "I had one moment of inattention. At the beginning of the stage, everyone wanted to break away because it was the last opportunity in the Giro before the time trial and the final sprint in Milan. When I saw that Stefano Garzelli was with us, I've thought we wouldn't make it, and that's probably when I missed the possibility to come across to the two Spaniards ahead."
He would never see Mayo again and ultimately finished second. Visconti has been in five significant breaks since the beginning of the Giro starting in stage 3 with Mikhail Ignatiev. He came eighth in Lienz at the end of stage 16. His captain Paolo Bettini finished second twice and third once. Although he's Sicilian, he has are located in Tuscany like Vincenzo Nibali. Visconti enjoys racing in the heat, which wasn't the case Friday when he wanted to log a win for Quick Step.
"Quick Step is the Sorbonne of cycling and Paolo the most prestigious teacher," he explained. Beforehand his tenure on the Quick Step squad, Visconti learned his job as an amateur under the guidance of Luca Scinto who was Michele Bartoli's righthand man. After two years with Gianluigi Stanga in the colors of Domina Vacanze and Milram, he rejoined Bettini at Quick Step this year with the intention of learning from the World Champion the secrets of the classics the same way Bettini did it in the shadow of Bartoli at the end of last decade.
The Giro is Visconti's first Grand Tour. "You need a three weeks racing to get formed muscularly," he reckoned. Visconti's only victory so far was the Coppa Sabatini last year. But he's improving and the second place in Terme di Comano is a step in that direction.