Sunday, the final stage of the 34th Tour Méditerranéen resembled the parcours of March's Classic, and was sort of a pre-Milano-Sanremo parcours. The riders faced the 122 kilometre stage from Dolceacqua to Sanremo, covering the Cipressa and Poggio before arriving on the streets of Sanremo (with the only difference being a finishing along the water front versus the traditional Via Roma).
The stage came down to a sprint between Micro Lorenzetto from Treviso and Daniele Bennati from Arezzo, with the former, 25 year-old Milram rider, getting the victory by a whisker. The judges were forced to rely on a photo finish that gave the win by one centimetre to Lorenzetto; his first win after four years as a professional.
It was a bit of good luck following 2006 the Giro d'Italia, where he had the Milram train at his disposal after an early departure by team leader Alessandro Petacchi. "I had made my [pre-Giro] preparations for leading out. Less on the explosiveness and more on the ability to progress [in speed]," he explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The near misses in the sprints were finalized with an unfortunate finish; after three weeks of the Giro, Lorenzetto crashed out in the closing kilometres of the final stage into Milano.
The dedications where three-fold after the podium celebrations in Sanremo. "To Francesca, who I will marry this October 21. To Giuseppe, my dad, who always followed me from when I started riding. He would help me train for the sprints; him in the car and me on my bike [pacing]; at 60 kilometres an hour in his draft. There were days when we would repeat this 25-30 times; it was better if the road went up on a slight incline. Finally, to Michele Gobbi, who crashed last year at Beghelli; I hope that he returns soon with us."
Not so fortunate for Benna, who was looking for his second win of the season after winning stage 2 of the Tour. The Tuscan sprinter will have the Classics on his agenda, specifically Milano-Sanremo, but was still a little peeved in missing out on a close finish, where one judge had even opted for ex aequo et bono. "We were equal," he quipped. "On the computer, for me there was no difference, I swear. Both he [Lorenzetto] and his director, Vittorio Algeri, were in agreement for an ex aequo. Then one French judge... "
The two will meet again in Sanremo, but then the young Milram rider will be working for Petacchi while the full Lampre-Fondital squad will be muscling for Benna.