Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia has been one of those epic stages in which an unknown rider went away early and got rewarded for his courage. Matteo Rabottini rode away from the bunch under the rain after only eighteen kilometres into stage 15 – initially with Frenchman Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r-La Mondiale) who didn’t persist. Rabottini crashed on the downhill preceding the final ascent to Piani dei Resinelli and was caught by Joaquim Rodriguez in the last 200 meters. The Spaniard who already won a stage win at Assisi and rode back into the overall lead, nicely gave him the way to cross the finishing line in first position, as it appeared like a well deserved victory for the 24-year-old from Pescara.
“I came to the Giro with the hope of winning a stage and I made it”, an emotional Rabottini said after crossing the line. “This is the most beautiful day of my life. I owe it to my directeur sportif Luca Scinto and my friend Valentino Sciotto.” The owner of the Farnese Vini wine producing company has been instrumental in his career. He first opened the door for the young Rabottini, an Italian champion in the U23 category, to be a trainee with the Lampre team that he co-sponsored in 2010 prior to become the title sponsor of the team previously known as ISD-Neri with Scinto at the helm.
When he won his first race as a pro at the 2011 Presidential Tour of Turkey in Fethiye, Rabottini already dedicated his victory to Sciotto who came and visit his team at the Giro at the start of stage 15 in Busto Arsizio. This time, he mentioned his girlfriend and their baby girl whose birth is expected in two weeks time. He’s the son of Luciano Rabottini who won the 1986 Tirreno-Adriatico, also for a team sponsored by a wine producer (Vini Ricordi), by taking advantage of the rivalry between Francesco Moser and Giuseppe Saronni. Inside the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team, he’s nicknamed “Rambo”.
“I’m not like Rambo”, joked Rabottini as he wanted to underline that he’s not naturally gifted.
“But I’m a rider who never gives up. This victory has been built since the last off-season. Scinto has made me arrive at the Giro with the best condition I could hope for. Today he gave me the right advice from the team car. He instructed me to pay attention to not spend too much energy all the way long. When I crashed, I thought that I had ruined everything but Scinto motivated me to keep going.”
The Giro d’Italia organizers RCS had allocated four wild-cards. So far, the beneficiaries have met expectations with Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela having bagged two stage wins with Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez and Roberto Ferrari, Colnago CSF Inox a significant one with Domenico Pozzovivo at Lago Laceno. Farnese Vini-Selle Italia has also scored the day after NetApp’s Jan Barta finished second at Cervinia. While the Pro Teams mark each other, the Pro Continental teams have fired up the Giro.