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Ulissi takes his first pro win in Prato

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Paolo Bettini and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Farnese Vini). Ulissi will form part of Bettini's Italian line-up at the Giro del Veneto

Paolo Bettini and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Farnese Vini). Ulissi will form part of Bettini's Italian line-up at the Giro del Veneto (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Italian team director Paolo Bettini has a word with Italian champ Giovanni Visconti

Italian team director Paolo Bettini has a word with Italian champ Giovanni Visconti (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Ulissi, a former world champion as a junior, fulfilled his promise today.

Ulissi, a former world champion as a junior, fulfilled his promise today. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) claimed his first pro win over Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Proni

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) claimed his first pro win over Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Proni (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) wins the GP Prato

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) wins the GP Prato (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Giovanni Visconti, the Italian champion

Giovanni Visconti, the Italian champion (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)

Of his own admission, much has been expected of Diego Ulissi and today in Prato he delivered on that promise, beating Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Proni in a late-race selection that showed the future is bright for the young Italian.

And the 21-year-old, who was junior world champion in 2006 and '07, had an illustrious audience in front of whom to perform, with the legendary Alfredo Martini and current national team manager Paolo Bettini in attendance.

Ulissi also beat 2009 Prato winner and current Italian national champ Giovanni Visconti, who is preparing for next month's world championship road race in Australia, plus experienced sprinter Luca Paolini and the ever-reliable Alessandro Bertolini.

"I am growing stronger and finally the big result has arrived. Prato has brought me good rewards: a year ago I imposed myself here in the Coppa 29 Martiri di Figline. I still didn't know my role as a rider. It's taken a couple of years to understand even when I've felt more adapted to stage races," said Ulissi.

"I always have high expectations on my shoulders in the light of the junior world championship successes: for this reason I have to reset myself at the end of each year, look at my achievements and results and get back into the game. You never stop improving."

The 65th edition of the Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato started with a bang and it wasn't until 43km in that the day's first move stuck. The aforementioned Bertolini (Androni-Diquigiovanni), Filippo Savini (Colnago-Csf Inox), Mauro Da Dalto (Lampre-Farnese), Ermanno Capelli (Footon-Servetto), Ruggero Marzoli (Acqua e Sapone), Stefano Borchi (De Rosa-Stac Plastic), Daniele Callegarin (Cdc-Cavaliere) and Swiss rider Bernhard Oberholzer (Price Custom) got away and built a maximum advantage of 1:15 after 85km of racing.

Just 25km later the break was annulled by the chasing bunch, having spent 67km leading the race. A further 24km later, defending champion Visconti forced the pace on the penultimate lap, taking Francisco José Ventoso (CarmioOro NGC), Francesco Gavazzi and Ulissi (both Lampre-Farnese), Tadej Valjavec (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Acqua e Sapone pair Paolini and Alessandro Proni, and the Androni-Diquigiovanni trio of Scarponi, José Serpa Perez and Bertolini plus Alessandro Bisolti (Colnago-Csf) and Polish rider Przemyslaw Niemec (Miche) with him.

A crash for Gavazzi ruled him out of contention but fortunately the Italian wasn't badly injured, although it left the door open for Ulissi to demonstrate what he could do against a quality field.

With two kilometres to go it was Proni forcing the pace on two occasion, the second of which Scarponi joined him as they headed under the red kite. From behind came the remainder of the selection as Ulissi kicked hard in the final 205m to secure a narrow win, the biggest of his fledgling career.

"My sport director Fabrizio Bontempi, who won here in Prato in 1995, told me before the start that only champions usually win this race: I gave my best, now I hope that Bontempi's forecast could be true," said Ulissi.

"This first season as pro has been until now very satisfying and this victory enriched it. Today the team was amazing, it was a pity that Gavazzi had to gave up his chances of victory beacause of the crash: this fact gave me even more energy because I really wanted the team work to be rewarded with an important result."

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini4:03:00
2Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
3Alessandro Proni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
4Giovanni Visconti (Ita) ISD - Neri0:00:11
5Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) CarmioOro NGC
6Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
7Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
8Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
9Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Miche
11Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
12Vladislav Borisov (Rus) Amore & Vita - Conad0:00:35
13Ruslan Pydgornyy (Ukr) ISD - Neri
14Eugenio Loria (Ita) CDC - Cavaliere
15Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:00:40
16Jure Kocjan (Slo) CarmioOro NGC
17Aristide Ratti (Ita) CarmioOro NGC
18Mirko Tedeschi (Ita) CarmioOro NGC
19Daniele Callegarin (Ita) CDC - Cavaliere
20Bernhard Oberholzer (Swi) Price - Custom Bikes
21Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
22Oleg Berdos (Mda) De Rosa - Stac Plastic
23Nicolas Schnyder (Swi) Price - Custom Bikes
24Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Amore & Vita - Conad
25Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
26Clemens Fankhauser (Aut) Vorarlberg - Corratec
27Krzysztof Szczawinski (Pol) Miche
28Volodymyr Starchyk (Ukr) Amore & Vita - Conad
29Elias Schmaeh (Swi) Price - Custom Bikes
30Marco Cattaneo (Ita) De Rosa - Stac Plastic
31Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre-Farnese Vini
32Fabio Felline (Ita) Footon-Servetto
33Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
34Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Vorarlberg - Corratec
35Francesco Tizza (Ita) CarmioOro NGC
36Davide Bonuccelli (Ita) CDC - Cavaliere
37Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Footon-Servetto
38Jure Golcer (Slo) De Rosa - Stac Plastic
39Patrick Schelling (Swi) Price - Custom Bikes
40Andrea Tonti (Ita) CarmioOro NGC
41Enrico Magazzini (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
42Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Miche
43Piergiorgio Camussa (Ita) Vorarlberg - Corratec
44Enrico Zen (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
45Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
46Hubert Schwab (Swi) Price - Custom Bikes
47Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
48Cristiano Fumagalli (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia
49Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia
50Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
51Volodymyr Zagorodny (Ukr) Miche
52Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) ISD - Neri
53Luciano Barindelli (Ita) CarmioOro NGC
54Alfredo Balloni (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
55Paolo Bailetti (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia
56Adriano Angeloni (Ita) TFB
57Diego Caccia (Ita) ISD - Neri
58Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia
59Francesco Di Paolo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
60Enrico Rossi (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia
61Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
62Markus Eibegger (Aut) Footon-Servetto
63Alessandro Fantini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
64Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
65Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
66Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Spa) Footon-Servetto
67Michele Gaia (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
68Leonardo Pinizzotto (Ita) Miche
69Luca Zanasca (Ita) CDC - Cavaliere
70Fabien Wolf (Swi) Price - Custom Bikes
71Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
72Paolo Ciavatta (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:02:05
73Roberto Antonio Richeze (Arg) TFB
74Leopoldo Rocchetti (Ita) Miche

 

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