Ivan Santaromita (BMC) won the Italian road race title after he out-lasted Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Davide Rebellin (CCC-Polsat) on the demanding uphill finish at Fondo.
The trio were part of a five-man move that went clear on the final lap and as the road began to climb up towards the finish with five kilometres to go, it was apparent that they would decide the destination of the tricolour jersey between them.
Scarponi made no fewer than four attempts to forge clear of his companions, but on each occasion Rebellin inched his way back up to his wheel, bringing Santaromita with him. After Scarponi’s final attempt fizzled out inside the final kilometre, Santaromita kicked for home with 500 metres to go.
The canny Santaromita timed his move to perfection. Rebellin tried once more to follow but was unable to hold on, while Scarponi was caught flat-footed. Although he came around Rebellin to claim second place, he was never able to get back on terms with Santaromita, who claimed only the second road race victory of his career after winning a stage of the Giro del Trentino – also ahead of Scarponi – in April.
For the second time in its history – the previous occasion being Massimo Podenzana’s win in 1994 – the Italian championships were combined with the Trofeo Melinda, making for a particularly exacting course that many expected to favour local rider Moreno Moser.
Moser’s Cannondale team duly put a lot of energy into controlling the race in the opening stages after the gruppo left the start in Malè, and led the pursuit of early escapees Omar Bertazzo (Androni-Venezuela), Stefano Borchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Filippo Fortin (Bardiani-CSF Inox).
By the time the peloton reached the finishing circuit, which saw them tackle the climb to Fondo on five occasions, Alessandro Proni (Vini Fantini) had caught and passed the three leaders, but with Lampre-Merida now combining their weight of numbers with Cannondale, his move was destined to be snuffed out.
Stefano Pirazzai (Bardiani-CSF) attempted to slip away on the penultimate ascent to Fondo, and while he was quickly shut down, the winning move drifted clear shortly afterwards under the impetus of Rebellin, who brought Scarponi, Santaromita, Simone Stortoni (Lampre-Merida) and Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) with him.
The quintet soon built up a 30-second lead, even though De Marchi was instructed not to collaborate given that his Cannondale teammates were leading the chase behind. By that point, the main peloton was reduced to just 25 riders, including Moser, but the efforts of Stortoni and Scarponi in particular meant that they were going to have their work cut out to bring back the leaders as the kilometres ticked down.
When Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) joined a small-lived chase group with Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) and Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini), it became apparent that Moser was less confident of his chances and soon afterwards, De Marchi was given instructions to start working with the rest of the break.
The hard-working Stortoni led the leaders onto the finishing climb and then swung over with four kilometres to go after a diligent stint of pace-making in the service of Scarponi. As the road began to pitch upwards, Scarponi put in the first of his digs, which saw off De Marchi, but not Rebellin and Santaromita, who continued to match his accelerations.
Neither Scarponi nor the 41-year-old Rebellin were eligible to race in the Italian championships two years ago due to a since-rescinded federation bylaw which barred riders with past doping suspensions from taking part, but the veteran pair seemed filled with motivation on a warm afternoon in Trentino.
In the end, however, it was Santaromita who emerged victorious, after cleverly managing his two companions’ efforts on the final climb before waiting for the perfect moment to unleash his fierce winning acceleration.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team||6:14:48|
|2||Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|3||Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice|
|4||Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling||0:00:20|
|5||Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale||0:00:26|
|6||Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia||0:00:30|
|7||Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:00:39|
|8||Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team||0:00:42|
|9||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling||0:00:48|
|10||Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||0:00:51|
|11||Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:00:57|
|12||Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||0:01:05|
|13||Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar|
|14||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:02:36|
|15||Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team|
|16||Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia|
|17||Federico Rocchetti (Ita) Itensilnord Ora24.eu||0:02:54|
|18||Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia|
|19||Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:03:21|
|20||Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli|
|21||Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli|
|22||Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling|
|23||Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|24||Ylven Sthefano Agostini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling|
|25||Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox|
|26||Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha|
|27||Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox|
|28||Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|29||Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Team Nippo-De Rosa|
|30||Matteo Di Serafino (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:04:48|
|31||Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale|
|32||Patrick Facchini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||0:07:12|
|33||Donato De Ieso (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox||0:07:48|
|34||Angelo Pagani (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox||0:09:08|