Scarponi accepts being second best at Lombardy

Italian happy with another placing in final race with Androni Giocattoli

Michele Scarponi has missed out on success in three major races this season but the laid-back Italian still considers 2010 a good year and was satisfied to be the best of the rest, behind Philippe Gilbert at the Tour of Lombardy.

The 31-year-old Androni Giocattoli rider lost Tirreno-Adriatico to Stefano Garzelli due to stage placings after the two finished equal on time and he missed out on the podium at the Giro d'Italia by just 13 seconds after losing time to Vincenzo Nibali in the final time trial.

He targeted Lombardy and was the only rider to get across to Gilbert in the finale of the race, but could not respond when the Belgian made his winning attack on the last climb near the finish in Como.

"I still think it was a good season. Perhaps I could have been a bit luckier but perhaps things will all add up and go my way in 2011," Scarponi said, trying to look on the bright side of a cyclist's life after racing for 260km, much of it in the wet and cold.

"I lost two metres to Gilbert when he attacked and my chain jumped. I knew I'd never get them back. I was tired and suffering because I'd made a huge effort to get across to him."

"I was perhaps unlucky with my chain. I was going to try something on the climb but I don’t know if I'd have had the strength to do anything. Would it have changed anything? To be honest, I don’t know. Gilbert was very strong and deserved to win. I can't remember racing a hard race like that one."

"Second is still an excellent result. I was beaten by a true champion who was born to ride and win the classics."

With Lampre in 2011

After his season Scarponi will ride with Lampre-ISD in 2011 and target the Giro d'Italia for the Italian team, while Damiano Cunego switches his focus to the classics and shorter stage races.

In 2006 Scarponi was implicated in Operacion Puerto and in 2007 he confessed to being the rider code named 'Zapatero'. He served his ban and then Androni Giocattoli boss Gianni Savio moved quickly to give him a second chance and help him make a comeback.

"I had two and a half great years with Savio and I can only thank him or helping me get my career back on track," Scarponi said.

"I'll be targeting the Giro in 2011 but I'll be back at Lombardy too. I always thought it is a race I had a good chance of winning. And after going close, now I know it's true."

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