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The strong start to 2014 continues for Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) as he wins stage 1 at Volta ao Algarve
Italian sprinter was preparing for Pompeiana
Last week, the province of Imperia announced that the descent following the Pompeiana is currently closed due to a landslide and that the road will not be repaired in time for Milan-San Remo. Organiser RCS Sport is monitoring the situation, although a return to the classic route seems very possible.
The planned addition of the Pompeiana to the finale of the 2014 edition of the race was supposed to make the race too difficult for most sprinters, but unlike Mark Cavendish and André Greipel, the on-form Modolo was undeterred by the prospect and had tailored his early-season around La Classicissima.
"They're talking about it a lot but I'm not letting it affect me. It makes no difference," Modolo told Gazzetta dello Sport of the Pompeiana. "It was planned to be there and I'm working to get to March 23 in top condition and capable of staying up there on the climbs."
Modolo finished in a surprise 4th place at Milan-San Remo in 2010, his debut season as a professional, and he believes that the great difficulty of the race lies in its distance rather than its climbs, new or existing.
"The difficulty of the race depends on how we approach it. And it's still 300 kilometres long. The selection is natural," Modolo said. "And if I keep going like this…"
Modolo claimed his fourth victory of the season on the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve on Wednesday. The Italian credited his successes to his move up to WorldTour level with Lampre-Merida after four seasons with Bardiani-CSF.
"I needed the responsibility of a big team," he said. "I've never considered myself a champion. But when you see real champions ready to work for you, something moves inside of you."
On Wednesday, Modolo was able to rely on a lead-out from no less a figure than world champion Rui Costa in the finale. "Kwiatkowski attacked hard, and Rui Costa, Petacchi and I went after him," Modolo said. "Rui led me out brilliantly, and I passed him with 100 metres to go."
Modolo will continue his Milan-San Remo build-up with Roma Maxima and Tirreno-Adriatico. The 26-year-old won ten races in 2013, more than any other Italian, but with four wins to his name in the opening month of racing, he is on course to better that tally this time around.
"It seems almost like it’s my year, yes, but it’s still very early," Modolo said. "It's like there’s magic in the air because everything we say on the team bus in the morning comes to pass."