Adriano Malori is the man who made the wheels of fortune turn back in favor of the Lampre-ISD team after their poor start at the Giro d'Italia in Denmark. The 24-year-old Italian took the pink jersey today at the conclusion of stage 6, the day the race visited the Marche region of his captain Michele Scarponi. When "the eagle of Filottrano" passed near his house, Malori was cruising in the front group that eventually put him on top of the overall classification with the help of time bonuses gained along the way as well as at the finish line where he came second to solo winner Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Androni Giocattoli).
"I caught the breakaway for being a point of reference for Scarponi," Malori said. "Our group eventually played for the stage win and maglia rosa. In the last 15 kilometers, the hills were really hard. With 60km to go, I focused on conquering the pink jersey but I had a double fear: [Omega Pharma-QuickStep Michal] Golas was close to me on GC and likely to beat me with the time bonus, and in the front, there was Rubiano who – I imagined – was at ease in the steep climbs. To get the pink jersey, I've given even more strength than I had."
A former time trial world champion in the U23 category in Varese (2008), Malori is the current Italian champion against the clock, a title he won in the absence of five-time champion Marco Pinotti who was absent after crashing at the Giro d'Italia. At the age of 24, he has already experienced critics in his country where expectations were high.
"I'm not a fuoriclasse (extraordinary) like Fabian [Cancellara]," he said. "I have a good engine. I race at the front. For now, I focus on what I do the best: time trialling."
Eager to break away, he's been noticed at the Tour de France, which he rode twice prior to making his debut at the Giro d'Italia this year. He was awarded the prize of most aggressive rider on stage 6 in Normandy last year.
"With this pink jersey, I hope to prove the critics wrong and demonstrate that I can do something else than time trialling," the rider from Parma said. "I suppose my improvements will be noticed. Since last year, I've been working closely with coach Andrea Morelli at the Mapei Centre. We've mostly worked on undulating courses like today's and my time trialling position. I've also become fitter with the efforts made at the races. Lampre-ISD isn't considered a big team but we have a great leader with Scarponi and we're united."
The blue-fuchsia team began the Giro with controversies around Damiano Cunego's late inclusion and poor performances in the inaugural individual time trial, but after only three days on Italian soil, they lead the race with one of Italy's most promising young riders.