By winning the Presidential Tour of Turkey, Giovanni Visconti might have found the important stepping-stone he needed to restart his career and finally live up to the expectations placed on his shoulders ever since he was a talented and successful under 23 rider.
The former U23 European road race champion started his professional career under the wing of Paolo Bettini, who helped him win the Italian championship in 2007. He was predicted to be as a future classics winner but three years on, he has still yet to win a major classic.
After riding for De Nardi, Milram and Quick Step, Visconti was reunited with his mentor Luca Scinto in 2009 as team leader at the ISD team. The team often struggles to secure invitations to major races but that may change after Visconti's success in Turkey.
"This win in Turkey will help me believe in the potential that Luca always repeats I have for winning big races,” Visconti said in Alanya after sealing victory.
“Wearing the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia two years ago certainly made me understand how to defend a lead in a stage race but it’s kind of a strange feeling for me to win a Tour for the first time. It’s nice that it comes at a national Tour as well. In a couple of years, I hope to fight for GC in the Grand Tours. Before that, I want to try and win other one-day races. I mean I want one of the real big ones.”
Visconti insists he has no regrets and is not angry about his ISD-Neri team not being invited to this year’s Giro d’Italia. The team's management is still hoping for a last minute invitation because the Italian team has been put on the reserve list by organisers RCS. For that reason, they won’t let the Le Tour de Langkawi winner José Rujano join another team until Angelo Zomegnan’s final word on invitation on May 3. The Venezuelan has been rumoured to be in discussion with Footon-Servetto for a middle-season transfer in an attempt to secure a ride in the Giro d'Italia.
Scinto inspires unity and dedication at ISD-Neri
Scinto might only be in his second year as the directeur sportif of a professional team but he’s already well known in the world of professional cycling. He was Michele Bartoli's loyal domestique and was a professional for nine years from 1994 to 2002. He also rode for the Italian team when Mario Cipollini won the 2002 World championship in Zolder. Formerly nicknamed “il pitone” (the python), Scinto has built his team around the concept of team unity and dedication.
“It’s amazing to ride for a team directed by Luca,” new rider Diego Caccia said after riding with Barloworld until this year. For the whole week in Turkey, Scinto enjoyed seeing his team riding with total dedication for Visconti in the same way as he did for Bartoli.
“This group reminds me of our ASICS team in 1998”, Scinto said. He motivated Visconti from the team car by telling him: “Giovanni, even Bartoli never had such a great team working for him like these guys have worked for you!”
Now ISD-Neri, Visconti and Scinto hope for further success and especially a phone call from Giro d'Italia director Angelo Zomegnan. Before then, the team's next race will be the Giro dell’Appennino near Genoa in Italy on April 25.