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Simon Clarke visits Giovanni Visconti in hospital
Italian looking for fourth national title
Visconti has been out of competition since he broke his tibia in a crash during the People’s Choice Classic in Australia, in January. While his season is now up in the air, he hopes that he can get racing as soon as possible.
“We will review my calendar a little bit,” he told the Italian radio show Ulitmo Chilometro. “I hope to return to the peloton in late March. At this point I do not know if I can take part in the Giro, partly because Movistar wants to win with (Nairo) Quintana and the team has to be in top form.”
The Italian was one of two Movistar riders forced to leave Australia early. José Joaquin Rojas broke his wrist on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under. Visconti had to undergo surgery after his crash, spending a week in hospital as he recovered. He says that the hardest part was making it back to Europe with his swollen leg.
Visconti has suffered mentally with the setbacks that cycling has handed him. In 2012 he was caught up in an investigation into Dr Michele Ferrari and was later banned for his links with the notorious doctor. The investigation seemed to take it’s toll on the Italian, as he struggled with his demons.
He found his confidence again when he won two stages of last year’s Giro d’Italia. Visconti says that confidence means that this latest setback won’t be the end of him. "This fall will not stop me,” he explains.
“The victories in the Tour of Italy last year unlocked mentally, even if after the Giro I have not had much luck. Let's say that I was always at the wrong place at the wrong time, but my mind is always full of stimuli, are ready to do good, I feel really motivated to come back in a better condition than before."
As he works towards his return to racing, there are many unknowns for Visconti. There is one certain fact and that is his desire to win the Italian National Championships again. Visconti has already won the title three times (in ’07, ’10 & ’11). If he were to win it again, it would put him in the bracket of Italian cycling legends Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali and Alfredo Binda.
“For sure I will try to regain the tricolore jersey. I've marked in red the date of the Italian championship, which is the race that I love the most."