Simone Stortoni came close to delivering Italy its first individual stage win of the 2010 Giro d’Italia. After eight days of racing, the Italian tifosi have only Liquigas-Doimo’s team time trial win to keep them happy, while stage winners from Great Britain (Bradley Wiggins), USA (Tyler Farrar), Belgium (Wouter Weylandt), France (Jérôme Pineau) and Australia (Matt Lloyd and Cadel Evans) have taken the individual plaudits.
Stortoni attacked from a 17-man escape group with 10.5 kilometres remaining on the climb of the Terminillo. Only eventual stage winner Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank) passed him and he collected the second place on the first mountain stage of the Giro.
“I’m very disappointed because I’ve dreamt for a while of a stage win at an uphill finish at the Giro d’Italia,” Stortoni said on the finish line at Terminillo, where fog, rain and cold temperatures had made it another hard day for the riders. The 24 year-old from Chiaravalle on Italy's eastern coast had tears in his eyes as he spoke. “I wanted to win for my mother’s birthday today,” he said.
“I only had one kilometre when my legs didn’t respond and that’s when Sørensen attacked,” he explained. “He’s done a great job in winning this stage. He’s a rider I had only seen on television before. He hasn't come out of nowhere.”
Stortoni is racing his first Grand Tour at the Giro. He turned pro with CSF Group-Navigare last season after racing as an amateur under Luca Scinto in the Neri-Lucchini team. He has trained with Androni-Giocattoli's Michele Scarponi in the past and both riders hail from the same region, where there are very few pro cyclists.
“Its not often you get the opportunity to win a stage,” Stortoni added. “Unfortunately, nobody remembers who came second. However, I hope this is the start of a different Giro for our team. We’ve only had bad luck since Amsterdam. I came to this race mostly to help [Domenico] Pozzovivo, who crashed on the first day.”
Earlier in the day, Colnago-CSF Inox team had lost Sacha Modolo, who retired after 70 kilometres. The Italian sprinter, who finished fourth at Milan-San Remo, had been suffering from a sciatic nerve issue, which had likely been a consequence of his crash on stage three.