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Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) has won his third Italian national road race title after a hard fought race in his native Sicily.
Visconti forced the decisive split in the final 20km, controlled several strong attacks and then won the sprint to the line, beating Mauro Santambrogio (BMC) and Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale).
Visconti won the Italian in 2007 and again last year. This third victory was even more special because it came in his home region of Sicily.
“I can’t believe I’ve won at home and that I’ve kept hold of the jersey I love so much,” an emotional Visconti said immediately after his victory.
“At the start I was doubtful I’d win again because of the heat and the course but my teammates helped me. This win pays me back for all the disappointments of the last few months. It’s my third jersey and so it’s a good season. If I hadn’t been relegated in the sprint at the Giro d’Italia it would have been even better but now I’ve put all of that behind me.”
Surprisingly only 93 riders started the road race, with the likes of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) and Davide Rebellin (Miche) blocked from competing by the new Italian Cycling Federation ruling baring riders who have tested positive and been banned from competition for at least six months.
The race was delayed due to traffic problems and reduced by one lap after it was rumoured tacks had also been thrown on the roads. The final race distance was reduced to 209km.
The race was decided on the final lap when Visconti attacked with Alessandro Ballan, Santambrogio, and Ivan Santaromita (BMC), Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha), Ponzi, Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Inox), Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago CSF), Paolo Bailetti (De Rosa Flaminia) and Fortunato Baliani (D'Angelo & Antenucci-Nippo).
The BMC trio tried to distance Visconti before the sprint but the attacks were neutralised and Visconti used his superior speed to win his third tricolore jersey.
Despite a dozen top three placing this season, it was only Visconti third win after GP Insubra and the last stage of the Settimana Coppi & Bartali.
|1||Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli)||5:34:46|
|2||Mauro Santambrogio (BMC Racing Team)|
|3||Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale)|
|4||Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha Team)|
|5||Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago - CSF Inox)|
|6||Paolo Bailetti (De Rosa - Ceramica Flaminia)|
|7||Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing Team)||0:00:13|
|8||Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team)||0:00:32|
|9||Fortunato Baliani (d'Angelo & Antenucci - Nippo)||0:02:36|
|10||Luca Paolini (Katusha Team)||0:03:22|
|11||Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)||0:03:55|
|12||Francesco Bellotti (Liquigas-Cannondale)|
|13||Matteo Tosatto (Saxo Bank Sungard)|
|14||Mauro Finetto (Liquigas-Cannondale)||0:04:02|
|15||Luca Mazzanti (Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli)|
|16||Cesare Benedetti (Team Netapp)||0:06:15|
|17||Davide Torosantucci (d'Angelo & Antenucci - Nippo)||0:07:16|
|18||Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|19||Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale)|
|20||Andrea Pasqualon (Colnago - CSF Inox)|
|21||Diego Ulissi (Lampre - ISD)|
|22||Alessandro Bertolini (Androni Giocattoli)|
|23||Marco Bandiera (Quickstep Cycling Team)||0:12:00|