By Jean-François Quénet in Gap
Salvatore 'Toto' Commesso should be an experienced rider since he's in his 9th season as a professional cyclist and his name was already in the hall of fame of the Tour de France stage winners. Riding for Saeco back in 2000, he beat Alexandre Vinokourov in a two-man sprint in Freiburg. He didn't accept any compromise with the German team Telekom on German soil.
Getting old, now 31, he's not as clever as he used to be. He sprinted in Gap against Pierrick Fedrigo in an enormous gear, then when he crossed the line, he hammered his handlebars. "This wasn't because of Fedrigo, he said. It was just because of myself. I haven't won any race for two years."
The Neapolitan might have problems with numbers because his last win actually happened four years ago! It was the Trofeo Matteotti in 2002. Since these years when he was under the spotlight, he has become a domestique. "Everyday I work for the others," he said while fuming. "And for once when it is my day, I'm only able to lose. What should I do to win? Kill my opponents maybe..."
His team-mate Alessandro Ballan was just as disappointed after Lampre's third second place at this year's Tour de France (with Daniele Bennati in a bunch sprint behind Robbie McEwen in St-Quentin and himself behind Yaroslav Popovych in Carcassonne). "We'll try again in the Alps," Ballan commented. (Damiano) Cunego, (Tadej) Valjavec and (Patxi) Vila are up for it, but it will be necessary to arrive alone."
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