Capecchi trying to live up to expectations

Eros Capecchi finished second on stage five at the Critérium du Dauphiné and leads the mountains competition but is becoming tired of just being labelled one of the most promising riders in the peloton. He knows it’s time for him to deliver results as he eyes his first ever ride in the Tour de France.

“This was a very hard stage, it took a lot of energy to go for it”, Capecchi told Cyclingnews in Grenoble. “After the good performance yesterday (he finished 8th in Risoul), I wanted to try again.”

Capecchi attacked early, on the Col du Lautaret soon after the start in Serre-Chevalier and went close to victory.

“All of us in the leading group were quite far down on GC, so we were allowed to go away,” the Italian said. “But when (stage winner Daniel) Navarro overtook us in the second climb, there was nothing we could do. I’m disappointed not to win the stage but I’m happy to take the polka-dot jersey. This is the distinctive jersey that fascinated me when I was watching the Tour de France as a boy. Now I’m going to defend it for sure.”

Capecchi could celebrate his 24th birthday as the king of the mountain at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday when the race ends in Sallanches, where Bernard Hinault won the world title 30 years ago. First he has to climb L’Alpe d’Huez but has never even seen the legendary Alpine climb.

“Everything in France is new to me, it’s a nice journey of discovery,” he said, admitting he has only ridden the GP Plouay in France, back in 2007. He was in his second year with Liquigas at the time, prior to moving to Saunier Duval, which is now the Footon-Servetto team.

Former teammate Roman Kreuziger considers Capecchi as the most talented rider of his generation and many experts in the sport can’t understand why Capecchi hasn’t delivered any other results since he won the Bicicleta Vasca in 2008.

“Unfortunately my career has been marred by bad luck more than anything else”, Capecchi told Cyclingnews.

“I’ve had many crashes, a virus, and pneumonia as well. Every time I came close to a goal with good form, something wrong happened to me.”

He was recently involved in a very bad crash on stage one at the Giro d’Italia, while team leader of Footon-Servetto. “I suffered like hell until I had no choice but pull out during the stage on the dirt roads to Montalcino”, he said.

He recovered in time for the Dauphiné and now eyes riding the Tour de France for the first time. Last year he was targeted by several English-speaking teams who were looking for a talented Italian rider but he was still under contract with Footon-Servetto. He has been a bit forgotten this season but team managers should perhaps remember his phone number for when he finally lives up to his talent.

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