By Gregor Brown in Lagnasco, Italy
Italy's Daniele Bennati closed out a season plagued with injuries with a win in the 94th Giro del Piemonte. The Liquigas rider from Arezzo, 28, won over compatriot Luca Paolini in a sprint.
"This year the win came much easier than in 2006, and I am happy I was able to come out with it so easily," explained Bennati. He won the race's most recent edition in 2006.
Piemonte marked win number seven in a year that was up and down for Bennati. The highs came at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, but they were balanced out by lows that included knee pains in the off-season and an inflammation that forced him to miss the Tour de France.
"With respect to last year, it has actually gone okay. With all the problems I had, I was even able to come out and take wins. At the start of season, I had a problem with my knee, then before the Tour, I had a problem that sometimes forced me to stop in pain.
"I was able to win at Giro del Trentino, which was not really my type of race. The Tour de Romandie went well, the Giro went very well," he continued. He won three stages and the points classification's maglia ciclamino at the Giro d'Italia.
"It is too bad that I had to skip the Tour, but the Vuelta went well I took a stage. I had a problem in the Vuelta with my prostate and I could not be at best for the Worlds even if I was selected it was an inflammation, but nothing serious," he said. Bennati left the Vuelta after stage nine.
Bennati ended his season to focus on a winter of rebuilding his heath. He will return in the Liquigas colours next year along with new-signing Ivan Basso.