Matteo Bono took his first professional win yesterday in San Giacomo. The Italian from Brescia, often seen in the service of captain Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Fondital, selected the right day to show his talents; the penultimate day of Tirreno-Adriatico, on the race's only true mountain top finish.
"How did I do it? They told me it was not true!" said the 23 year-old to La Gazzetta dello Sport after staking claim to stage six. It was evident that the rider who normally gives his all for Cunego was unaccustomed to winning. He will be joined with the Lampre-Fondital leader in the Critérium International, starting March 31, so they can build for this year's Giro d'Italia.
"More? I don't know what to say. From the second day, the first I worked for Danilo Napolitano, I tried to get into escapes. Today, on the last climb, the team said that the finish would be quite a bit harder than the previous days and so I knew to attack. In reality it [the win - ed.] would have still come... but I took it, you could see that I was going better than the others."
He finished 32 seconds clear of Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas), crossing himself as he won. "I am a big believer," he quipped.
Born in Lago d'Iseo and currently living in Ome, he attributes his start in cycling to his father and brother, seven years-older, and who was a professional along side the likes of Davide Rebellin. "My dad was an amateur but above all I learned from the examples of my brother, Paolo. He was really strong; fifth in the Junior Worlds in Ecuador, and then professional with Liquigas, the same team as Rebellin. He was only professional for two years due to an incident that forced him to change his path. Now he works with marble."
Bono points towards another 'quiet' rider as his role model, Miguel Indurain, five-time winner of the Tour de France. "My role model has always been Miguel Indurain. ... I still have to race a lot of the races to see them. Last year I was in Belgium and it was crazy. It seems as though [the races] Belgium was not made for me." Bono jokingly finished, "But I am a complete rider, in the sense that I go slow everywhere!"