Capecchi: a breakthrough win at the Giro d'Italia

Elegant Liquigas rider becomes Giro d’Italia stage winner

Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) was highly emotional after crossing the line and collapsing from tiredness and shock, having won stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia.

“I haven’t had a lucky Giro”, he said. “I wasn’t going as well as I wanted. To win this stage brings me incredible joy.”

He was moved to tears as he mentioned his grandfather, Espartero, who died five years ago and his cousin, Rudy, who passed away at the age of 18 last winter. “I dedicate this victory to all the people who care for me,” he said.

Capecchi was the Italian champion as a junior in 2004. His early years as a cyclist were extremely successful and it was surprising that his career stagnated at Liquigas. At the end of his first contract, he asked not to be kept on.

“I wanted more space for myself,” he said. But despite a strong start to his career at Saunier Duval, he went into limbo due to various injuries and low morale at the same time as Mauro Gianetti was struggling to keep the team stable after the scandal of Riccardo Ricco at the Tour de France.

“There’s a tendency in cycling to talk badly about the riders who are doing badly but those who have problems are mostly forgotten”, Capecchi noted after the race. “I prefer not to talk about my problems from the past.”

Capecchi told Cyclingnews one year ago, when he wore the polka dot jersey of the Dauphiné after finishing second in stage 5: “I don’t want to be known only for being the most elegant rider in the professional bunch.”

The perfection of his ankles gives him the most fluid pedalling style of current pro riders. His positioning on the bike makes him an absolute stylist. But efficiency has yet to be seen.

“Some riders win big at the age of 21, others like Ivan Basso win their first Grand Tour at 28,” he noted, showing that his ambitions remain as high as they were when he turned professional.

“There are doubts about me but I managed to externalise myself from the problems I had,” Capecchi said. He returned to Liquigas-Cannondale this year to kind of resume his career from the starting point and his fourth place at the Tour of San Luis in Argentina in January was very encouraging.

“But my Giro has been below expectations until today,” he admitted. “My biggest regret was to not be able to be next to Vincenzo Nibali when he needed me.”

This stage win also comes as a compensation for his failure to make an impact in the race for the white jersey of best young rider, for which the man from Castiglione del Lago in Umbria was tipped as a favourite. He rode as an amateur in the Tuscan team of Mastromarco, the same as Nibali.

“I would have liked to have worn the white jersey, especially because it’s my last chance for it this year,” Capecchi said. “Well, I’ll have another chance at the Vuelta,” he added, forgetting that the Spanish Grand Tour doesn’t allocate a distinctive jersey for the best young rider.

“Here the white jersey is perfectly worn by Mister Roman Kreuziger who is in the top ten on GC,” Capecchi insisted. Three years ago, the Czech rider told Cyclingnews that two cyclists of his generation had given him a hard time on the bike: Andy Schleck and Capecchi. He predicted that his former teammate at Liquigas would be soon the champion he was expected to become.

It’s not too late to show more than style, class, cordiality and syntax for a rider aged only 25. Capecchi can deliver more than a stage win at the Giro, although it was a well-deserved one.

“I wanted to arrive maybe dead in San Pellegrino but after giving everything I had,” said the man who outsprinted Marco Pinotti.


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