The Italian outsprinted Tour de France champion Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) in the closing metres, while Sergey Cherkasov (Gazprom-RusVelo) took third in Pontedera.
Bernal had kicked off the move, attacking near the top of the third ascent of Monte Serra, over looking Pisa, just as teammate Diego Rosa was about to be caught by the peloton. Cherkasov went with the Colombian, and the duo were joined at the top by Visconti and Pierpaolo Ficara (Italy National Team).
With a disrupted chase and the lead quartet working well together, the attackers gained time on the run to the finish, with the 20-second time gap ballooning out to over a minute on the flat roads to Pontedera.
As the quartet hit the final kilometres more than a minute up on the chasers, there was ample space to play games, but aside from an acceleration by Cherkasov, which saw Ficara dispatched with a kilometre to go, they were content to wait for the sprint.
In the fight for the line, Bernal launched his sprint first, with Cherkasov unable to put in another big effort. Visconti was, on paper, the quickest sprinter, and so it proved, taking his third victory of 2019. He came off Bernal's wheel at the right moment and quickly got a gap. As Bernal eased up, Visconti pointed to his head as if to say he had still the tactical nouse to win and then began to celebrate his win on local roads. His victory could help him secure a place in the Italian team for the World Championships.
"I'm getting old, but I deserve respect for what I can still do," said Visconti, who had finished fourth, second and third at the race in the last three years. "Bernal was impressive today. He’s not at his best but he was able to drop us on the climb.
"But I rode smart and was able to get back on and win. This is a special moment. Neri Sottoli is a small but we're a great team and I have to thank everyone. After all their support I had to win."
How it unfolded
The 91st edition of the Giro della Toscana - the first part of a Tuscan double-header with Thursday's Coppa Sabatini, once again welcomed a strong start list.
The Team Ineos duo of Egan Bernal and Iván Sosa were the headliners, along with 2017 winner Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Giro d'Italia stage winners Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Giulio Ciccone (Italy National Team), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) and Davide Formolo (Italy National Team). The race offered important for the season-long Ciclismo Cup series.
The 204.4km race would see three ascents of Monte Serra, an 8.4km, 7.1 per cent climb located between Pontedera and Pisa and often used by Tuscan riders to measure their form. With the final summit of the climb coming inside the final 30km of the race, it would once again prove decisive in shaking up the race.
A break was established by the 20km mark, with Simon Pellaud (IAM Excelsior), Filippo Zana (Sangemini-Trevigiani-MG.Kvis), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Astana), Edoardo Zardini (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM) and Alexis Guerin (Delko Marseille Provence) getting away from the peloton early on.
Gazprom-RusVelo and Team Ineos led the peloton, which lay four minutes down on the break as the riders hit the first ascent of Monte Serra after 55km of racing. Bizhigitov was first over the top, while the Italian National Team took over the pace-making further back.
Bizhigitov once again led over the top of Monte Serra, giving him six points and the win in the mountain classification while Guerin and Zardini had four and two points apiece.
Pellaud put in an attack on the descent, but was quickly caught by his breakaway companions, while Neri Sottoli's work in the peloton split the group up and reduced the break's advantage to 2:30. The peloton regrouped on the descent, but with Team Ineos and the Italian National Team taking over the work to bring the gap down to 1:10 as the break hit the final climb of the day. Bizhigitov and Pellaud struck out on the lower slopes with 35km left to race.
The duo lay just 50 seconds up the road when the attacks started in the peloton. Diego Rosa (Team Ineos) put in the strongest move, separating himself from the rest to chase down Pellaud, the last man standing from the break. Rosa made it across to the Swiss three kilometres from the top of the climb as Neri Sottoli led the chase 30 seconds back. The Italian didn't hang around for long though, pushing on alone as he neared the summit, while back in the peloton Formolo struggled, stuck in the big ring.
Near the top of the climb, and with Rosa almost caught, it was time for Bernal to go. The Colombian's acceleration split the reduced peloton even further, and only Cherkasov was strong enough to follow his move. As the pair crested the final summit of Monte Serra, they were joined by Visconti and Ficara, making it four out front with 25km to go.
Bernal led the quartet down the technical descent, which saw Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF) and Andrea Garosio (Bahrain-Merida) crash out of the chase. The lead group, who made it safely down to the valley, held a 30-second lead over the ten-man chase group at the bottom.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, the attackers only gained time on the flat roads to the finish in Pontedera. This was partially thanks to the presence of Bernal's teammates Rosa and Eddie Dunbar, plus two of Visconti's teammates, which meant the chase was easily disrupted and eventually ran out of steam.
Five kilometres from the finish, it was clear that the leaders would contest the win, racing to the line a minute up on the chasers. They held off on the attacks until the final kilometre, with Cherkasov upping the pace first and shaking off Ficara.
All that was left to contest was the inevitable sprint finish. Bernal tried his best, launching first, but Visconti would not be denied his win, and came around to seal Neri Sottoli's eighth win of the year.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM||5:09:35|
|2||Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos|
|3||Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo|
|4||Pierpaolo Ficara (Ita) Italy||0:00:13|
|5||Davide Gabburo (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM||0:00:51|
|6||Edward Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos||0:00:53|
|7||Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||0:00:58|
|8||Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana Pro Team|
|9||Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic|
|10||Ivan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo|
|11||Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|12||Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|13||Simone Velasco (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM|
|14||Alejandro Osorio Carvajal (Col) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane|
|15||Hideto Nakane (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane|
|16||Yuriy Natarov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team|
|17||Natnael Berhane (Eri) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|18||Jon Irisarri Ricon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|19||Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|20||Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|21||Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|22||Anthony Rappo (Swi) IAM Excelsior|
|23||Davide Formolo (Ita) Italy|
|24||Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Ineos|
|25||Andrea Garosio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida|
|26||Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|27||Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|28||Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|29||Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||0:01:06|
|30||Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||0:03:22|
|31||Riccardo Ciuccarelli (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-Mg.K Vis|
|32||Umberto Orsini (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|33||Gabriele Benedetti (Ita) Italy|
|34||Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM Excelsior|
|35||Gianni Pugi (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-Mg.K Vis|
|36||Bart De Clercq (Bel) Wanty-Gobert|
|37||Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Cycling Academy|
|38||Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) IAM Excelsior|
|39||Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|40||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Italy|
|41||Brice Feillu (Fra) Arkéa Samsic|
|42||Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkéa Samsic|
|43||Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|44||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert|
|45||Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM||0:06:53|
|46||Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM|
|47||Joel Suter (Swi) Switzerland|
|48||Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|49||Antonio Di Sante (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-Mg.K Vis||0:07:57|
|50||Dario Puccioni (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-Mg.K Vis|
|51||Sebastian Schönberger (Aut) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM|
|52||Alexandre Balmer (Swi) Switzerland|
|53||Ivan Martinelli (Ita) D'Amico Um Tools|
|54||Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||0:10:14|
|55||Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team|
|56||Mauricio Moreira (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|57||Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane|
|58||Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo|
|59||Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro Team|
|60||Edwin Avila (Col) Israel Cycling Academy|
|61||Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida|
|62||Ruben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy|
|63||Aleksei Rybalkin (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo||0:10:34|
|64||Franco Orocito (Arg) D'Amico Um Tools|
|DNF||Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Ivan Sosa (Col) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Jonnathan Narvaez (Ecu) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Daniil Fominykh (Kaz) Astana Pro Team|
|DNF||Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team|
|DNF||Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida|
|DNF||Chun Kai Feng (Tpe) Bahrain-Merida|
|DNF||Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain-Merida|
|DNF||Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Nicolas Dalla Valle (Ita) Tirol KTM Cycling Team|
|DNF||Davide Masi (Ita) Italy|
|DNF||Stefano Oldani (Ita) Kometa Cycling Team|
|DNF||Enrico Salvador (Ita) Italy|
|DNF||Michael Albasini (Swi) Switzerland|
|DNF||Stefan Bissegger (Swi) Switzerland|
|DNF||Damian Lüscher (Swi) Switzerland|
|DNF||Johan Jacobs (Swi) Switzerland|
|DNF||Reto Müller (Swi) Swiss Racing Academy|
|DNF||Matteo Busato (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|DNF||Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|DNF||Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|DNF||Francesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|DNF||Daniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|DNF||Ruben Dario Acosta Ospina (Col) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane|
|DNF||Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane|
|DNF||Joan Bou Company (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane|
|DNF||Sho Hatsuyama (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane|
|DNF||Roberto González (Pan) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM|
|DNF||Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM|
|DNF||Aurélien Doleatto (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|DNF||Maxime Jarnet (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|DNF||Jérémy Maison (Fra) Arkéa Samsic|
|DNF||Florian Vachon (Fra) Arkéa Samsic|
|DNF||Nelson Soto Martinez (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|DNF||Oier Lazkano Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|DNF||Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|DNF||Eusebio Pascual Bonhome (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|DNF||Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|DNF||Iuri Filosi (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|DNF||Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|DNF||Alexis Guerin (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|DNF||Evgeny Kobernyak (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo|
|DNF||Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo|
|DNF||Stepan Kuriyanov (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo|
|DNF||Freddy Ovett (Aus) Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Roy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Gobert|
|DNF||Fabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty-Gobert|
|DNF||Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty-Gobert|
|DNF||Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert|
|DNF||Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|DNF||Darwin Atapuma (Col) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|DNF||Marco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|DNF||Attilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis Solutions Credits|
|DNF||Fabian Lienhard (Swi) IAM Excelsior|
|DNF||Martin Schäppi (Swi) IAM Excelsior|
|DNF||Scott Quincey (Swi) IAM Excelsior|
|DNF||Corey Davis (USA) Team Ineosline|
|DNF||Leonardo Bonifazio (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-Mg.K Vis|
|DNF||Niccolo' Salvietti (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-Mg.K Vis|
|DNF||Filippo Zana (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-Mg.K Vis|
|DNF||Federico Burchio (Ita) D'Amico Um Tools|
|DNF||Roman Kustadinchev (Rus) D'Amico Um Tools|
|DNF||Valter Ghigino (Ita) D'Amico Um Tools|
|DNF||Orlando Pitzanti (Ita) D'Amico Um Tools|
|DNF||Yamil Gabriel Tapia (Arg) D'Amico Um Tools|
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.
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