The Liquigas-Doimo team again displayed its expertise in scouting and developing young talent, with two new names emerging at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. Davide Cimolai finished second to André Greipel on stage six in Finike and Elia Viviani took stage seven in Antalya.
Questioned at the beginning of the 'Tur' about the developing riders he had seen emerging this year, Giovanni Visconti was prompt to answer: "Oh! The young guys from Liquigas." He named Daniel Oss, seen excelling in this year's Gent-Wevelgem (fifth) and Slovakia's Peter Sagan, who won two stages of Paris-Nice at the age of 20.
On his way to Alanya, Visconti, the eventual winner of the Turkish event got to know two more recruits of the team managed by Roberto Amadio. He even had some bad words about the way Viviani prevented him from winning stage seven although the next day he apologised to his young compatriot.
"I shouldn't have been pissed off," Visconti admitted. "I got too emotional because I always want to win when there is an opportunity and I wanted the time bonus too because my lead on general classification wasn't that big. But I was wrong, I'm sorry." For his part, Viviani was relieved when the controversy with Visconti was sorted. "I'm a fan of his!," said the 21-year-old from Verona.
The Tour of Turkey was Viviani's first race with his new pro team after spending three months with the U23 Italian national team - he won a stage at the Tour of Cuba in February - in preparation for the track world championships from which he returned empty handed. "Liquigas is a team that provides space for young riders," he explained. "Once our sprinter Francesco Chicchi pulled out, Cimolai and I were given total freedom to try and get results."
Cimolai also comes from a track cycling background but his focus is fully on the road now. In contrast to Viviani, the man from Fontana Fredda - the same village in Friuli from which 1920s legend Ottavio Bottecchia hailed - has raced prolifically despite being only 20. "I didn't expect to get a pro win so early but the team time trial at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali was very satisfying after learning the ropes at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman," said Cimolai.
"I love to travel for cycling, so I'm more than happy. After the Tour of Turkey, my next appointment is the Tour of California," Cimolai added. Viviani is also scheduled for the US biggest stage race, as is Sagan, who only had Paris-Roubaix on his agenda between Paris-Nice and the Tour of California because Liquihas-Doimo management is concerned about not burning him out.
The Italian squad boasts a plethora of Tour de France general classification contenders (Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali, Ivan Basso and Franco Pellizotti) and will soon have more young and ambitious guns knocking at the door for leading positions.