With eyes looking toward Tabor for the cyclocross world championships this weekend, the European road season quietly opened Saturday with the first stage of Reggio Calabria race in Italy.
The four-day race in southern Italy earned the distinction of the first road race held on European pavement in 2010, pipping the tradition Euro opener of GP d’Ouverture de Marseillaise by one day.
Matteo Montaguti (De Rosa-Stac Plastic) took honors after beating breakaway companion Filippo Savini (Colnago CSF Inox) in the 183km stage. Fran Ventoso (Carmiooro NGC) led the main pack across the line to take third.
An early, three-man breakaway was reeled in under steady rain. The winning pair pulled clear on a technical downhill with about 50km to go and held enough gap to drive it all the way to the line.
The victory is the first as a pro for the 26-year-old Montaguti and the first for the new De Rosa team.
Several other big names took part, including Alessandro Petacchi, making his debut with Lampre, and Michael Rasmussen, racing in Europe for the first time since he was removed from the 2007 Tour de France.
60th Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria
1. Matteo Montaguit (Ita), De Rosa-Stac Plastic
2. Filippo Savini (Ita), Colnago CSF Inox
3. Francisco Ventoso (Spa), Carmiooro NGC
4. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita), Lampre Farnese Vini
5. Federico Canuti (Ita), Colnago CSC Inox