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Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
Italian seals Tour de France's mountains and combativity awards
Franco Pellizotti capped off a successful Tour de France as he stepped onto the race podium to claim the overall mountains classification in Paris on Sunday.
While he was unable to reach his pre-Tour goal of a stage win, the Liquigas rider was also awarded the Tour's overall combativity prize. Pellizotti told letour.fr that he was pleased with the role he was able to play in the three week race.
"I felt many different emotions during this Tour. Above all, I had the ambition to win a stage. I tried several times but I could not achieve that goal, even if I did come close," said Pellizotti in Paris.
"But the other objective was to win the polka-dot jersey and I’ve realized that. With the combativity award as well, I’m leaving this Tour with two awards which proves that I was present every day. Along with my teammates we helped to animate this race."
Pellizotti rode aggresively throughout the Tour. His best chance of a stage win came on stage nine in Tarbes. On that occasion he was narrowly edged out in a sprint by Frenchman Pierrick Fédrigo (BBox Bougyues Telecom) after the two had broken away on the Col du Tourmalet.
His win in the Tour's mountains classification meant Pellizotti became the first Italian do so since Claudio Chiappucci in 1992. He cemented his position in the race for the polka dot jersey in the Tour's alpine stages. Participation in a stage 16 breakaway gave him maximum points on both the hors categorie Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard and category 1 Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard, effectively seeing off the challenge of Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
"The battle for the polka-dot jersey went on for quite some time. I was very demanding to get it, and just as though to keep it. I am the first Italian to win this title after Claudio Chiappucci and that means a lot to me. When I saw him on the roads of the Tour all those years ago with this jersey… it was one of the images that remained with me. I wanted to win it one day."
Pellizotti finished the climbers competition with 210 points, 75 points clear of Martinez (135 points) and 84 points clear of Tour winner, Astana's Alberto Contador (126 points).