Former Italian champion Giovanni Visconti was on the attack on two occasions in the last ten kilometres of stage 2 during the Presidential Tour of Turkey today. The characteristics of the finale couldn't prevent him from being brought back by HTC-Columbia but it was interesting to notice that André Greipel himself reacted when the ISD-Neri rider made his first move while his teammates did the job behind other riders. "That means he considered me dangerous," Visconti said after dinner in Bodrum.
"I'm happy to be able to attack again," he told Cyclingnews. "A problem with my leg forced me to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico and the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali but fortunately a physiotherapist brought me back to my world. I was relieved that it wasn't the iliac artery. The heat here in Turkey also favours me. I was satisfied with my prologue (11th), it wasn't a course for light riders like me, it was for cyclists over 70 kg. For sure my morale is better now because at the time of Milan-San Remo I wasn't competitive. I'm back on track."
Visconti confirmed he'll again go on the attack before the end of the Tour of Turkey on Sunday while his exuberant and enthusiastic directeur sportif Luca Scinto got excited enough to imagine him winning the overall classification. ISD-Neri already won Le Tour de Langkawi with José Rujano in March but that wasn't enough to convince the organisers of the Giro d'Italia to select them again this year.
"I was happy that our team got invited last year to all the races organised by La Gazzetta dello Sport although it was only our first year of existence," Visconti said. "I feel sad that we didn't get the call this year but it's not the end of the world. I'd love to do the Giro of course but also as a neo-pro I stayed at home during the Giro (2005-2006). I'm able to motivate myself for other goals."
The Sicilian who won Sardinia's Classica Sarda Olbia-Pantogia in February hopes to repeat his success from three years ago at the Italian championship. "The course is harder than usual. I think it'll be good for me. I hope I'll have the right condition on that day," he said.
He also remembers with emotion that he went for dinner with Franco Ballerini just a couple of days before his tragic death. "He told me the [2010 world championship] finish in Geelong was perfect for me," Visconti said. "In Italy it's always difficult to make the team. Anyway, I'm up for big one-day races. I'd like to go again for the classics I discovered with Paolo Bettini at Quick Step. I'm 27. That means I have another ten years for winning them. It's not like if my career would end up tomorrow."
ISD-Neri is one of the five teams designated as reserve for the Giro d'Italia in case of some of the 22 selected teams aren't able to ride.