Mauro Santambrogio's move from BMC Racing to Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at the end of 2012 has proved to be the right decision. The Italian has continued to impress at this year's Tirreno-Adriatico and currently lies in sixth overall against one of the best ‘grand tour' fields compiled for the general classification. His results this year suggest the 28-year-old may be one to look for at many of the upcoming one day races, including the Ardennes classics - where the team has been invited to Amstel Gold.
Santambrogio's transfer to the Pro-Continental team signaled the end of an up and down three years at BMC where the rider had been withdrawn from racing on two occasions due to his involvement in the Mantova doping inquiry - which stemmed from his time at Lampre during 2008 and 2009.
The rider who pulled on the Vini Fantini colours at the start of 2013 began his season with a solid showing at Tour de San Luis where he finished sixth and was one of the most aggressive in the finale of Trofeo Laigueglia. Santambrogio would eventually finish third at the 1.1 race won by Filippo Pozzato (Lampre) before going on to a fine fifth at GP Città di Camaiore.
Santambrogio's current GC position at Tirreno - Adriatico is all the more impressive given the team's woeful display in the opening team time trial. Vini Fantini had the second slowest time for the 16.9km test and lost 31 seconds to current race leader Chris Froome (Sky) in the process. Without that time loss the Italian would otherwise be placed in second overall. However, team director Luca Scinto remains pleased with his new recruit's performance thus far.
"In this moment and with the names present, the performance of Santambrogio hasn't received the right attention, even if he is performing strong at Tirreno," said Scinto.
"Unfortunately in the general classification we lost many seconds after our bad team time trial and on the last stage [time trial] we will likely lose many more. But we have already achieved a strong, since taking on Mauro who is racing as a real leader and demonstrating his good value," he added.