Until stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia, Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) didn't mention that he had suffered a knee injury as he was hoping things would get better. During stage 6, the Italian champion managed to hang on and worked for his teammate Oscar Gatto.
"For me, it's a miracle that he's still in the race," Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli's directeur sportif Luca Scinto said at the finish in Fiuggi.
At the start of stage 6 in Orvieto, Visconti had physio tape around his knee and explained: "During the Amstel Gold Race, a water bottle exploded on my left knee and the pain keeps getting bigger and bigger. I'm worried."
"It looked insignificant at the beginning and it turned into a strong pain," Scinto added. "Yesterday at the beginning of the stage it was very bad but painkillers helped him finish the race. He underwent therapy. We've got an osteopath coming from Tuscany to treat him. We've got the medical devices for that. We do all we can to save him and his Giro."
The Pro Continental Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli team got an invite for the Giro d'Italia even prior to the announcement of the wild cards because of the presence in their ranks of the Italian champion in the year the race celebrates the 150th anniversary of the unity of Italy.
The team had high ambitions for the first two weeks of the race and the squad is mostly built around Visconti. But when they went to the front of the bunch riding behind breakaway riders Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) and Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step) during the last hour of racing, it wasn't for Visconti, who had confirmed to his teammates that he wasn't able to go for the win, although it was an uphill finish suitable for his characteristics.
"We tried to set up the sprint for Oscar Gatto," Scinto said. "Since he finished fifth yesterday, he deserved to be given the opportunity. Visconti positioned him well with one kilometre to go and then stopped his effort, but Oscar suddenly didn't have the legs."