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'Cipo' a crowd favourite in Miami's Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia

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The man, the legend, Mario Cipollini

The man, the legend, Mario Cipollini (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Young fans have their picture taken with the Giro d'Italia winner's trophy

Young fans have their picture taken with the Giro d'Italia winner's trophy (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Beatrice and Claudia with the Giro d'Italia trophy

Beatrice and Claudia with the Giro d'Italia trophy (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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A young fan helping to hand out the finishing medals

A young fan helping to hand out the finishing medals (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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American rider currently racing in Europe, Liz Hatch

American rider currently racing in Europe, Liz Hatch (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Danilo Di Luca attended in the event

Danilo Di Luca attended in the event (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Filippo "Pippo" Pozzato is one of his final outings before moving to Lampre-Merida in 2013

Filippo "Pippo" Pozzato is one of his final outings before moving to Lampre-Merida in 2013 (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Just along for the ride, George Hincapie

Just along for the ride, George Hincapie (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Claudia Romani and Beatrice Fogliata cheer on the riders

Claudia Romani and Beatrice Fogliata cheer on the riders (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Riders await the start of the Gran Fondo in Miami

Riders await the start of the Gran Fondo in Miami (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Danilo Di Luca and his neighbour Formula1 driver Jarno Trulli

Danilo Di Luca and his neighbour Formula1 driver Jarno Trulli (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Mario Cipollini reminds everyone of his former world championship status

Mario Cipollini reminds everyone of his former world championship status (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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'Cipo' was enjoying his time spent in Miami

'Cipo' was enjoying his time spent in Miami (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Cipollini and Di Luca in Miami

Cipollini and Di Luca in Miami (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Di Luca was happy to sign autographs at the end of the ride

Di Luca was happy to sign autographs at the end of the ride (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)
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Formula1 driver Jarno Trulli and IndyCar series drive Bruno Junqueira

Formula1 driver Jarno Trulli and IndyCar series drive Bruno Junqueira (Image credit: Bruce Hildenbrand)

Miami was the stage for the final Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia of 2012. A trio of iconic Italian cyclists led the 1,000-strong field along the roads of southern Florida on a beautiful November day. 2002 World Champion Mario Cipollini, 2007 Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca and 2006 Milan-San Remo victor Filippo Pozzato energized the crowd lined up on Coral Gables fabled Miracle Mile for the traditional mass start.

'Cipo' admitted to the crowd that he had probably partied a bit too much in South Beach prior to the event, but he graciously lent his time for photos and words of encouragement. Di Luca told Cyclingnews that he had enjoyed the weather and the roads of the Miami region and that his primary goal in 2013 was to become a two-time winner of the Giro d'Italia.