Sunday in France at the Tour du Haut Var, Filippo Pozzato took his first win for 2007, his first for new team Liquigas and added his name to a past list of winners that includes Laurent Jalabert and Davide Rebellin. The 25 year-old was delighted with his win after an off-season of hard work and a solid 2007 start.
Pippo, who finished third in the Trofeo Laigueglia, was once again subjected to the Ignatiev Missile. The same Russian rider that won last week, Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems), attacked hard in the finale of the French race but this time he was a marked man. "He had tried again here in this race but this time we would not let him go 10 metres," explained the rider from Veneto to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I closed down his moves three times, then my teammate, [Aleksandr] Kuschynski, led me out for the sprint. We were perfect.
"We deserved the win, after a lot of placings. It serves as a reminder, with the wins of [Alessandro] Petacchi and [Paolo] Bettini, to not forget about me."
Pippo is preparing March's Milano-Sanremo, and this win will give him the needed confidence boost, and rally the team support, for a repeat on the Via Roma. Coming up on his schedule is a weekend in the north to race Het Volk and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, where he will face old teammate and new rival Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic).
"I am not afraid, I will go to play my cards," he continued regarding Boonen. "I race to win and I have a competitive team. [Het Volk] is a small Tour of Flanders and serves as a good pavé test. It is important for making my preparations for Sanremo."