Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre) took morale-boosting victories Friday to put their rivals on notice going into next month´s Giro d’Italia.
Kreuziger and Scarponi came up winner´s in Friday’s final stage at the Giro del Trentino in northern Italy, in what was a pre-Giro warmup that confirmed both are on track to make a run for the “maglia rosa” next month.
Kreuziger, who is betting everything on being ready for the Giro, edged out Emanuele Sella (Androni) to claim victory at Madonna di Campiglio in the fourth and final stage at Trentino. Scarponi, meanwhile, came through fifth at 24 seconds adrift to lock up the overall crown.
Kreuziger was part of a five-man breakaway that peeled off the front to build a five-minute lead, putting the pressure on Scarponi’s Lampre crew to reduce the deficit coming into the final climb to the finish line. The Kreuziger ploy worked and he kicked to victory ahead of Sella.
“Maybe victory came by accident, but I don’t care and feel happy for myself and the whole team¨,” Kreuziger said. “After Paris-Nice I was not in the action any more, I needed to keep competition’s pace. Now I feel confident to get started at Giro d’Italia, having a team able to support me at the best when the time to climb comes.”
Scarponi was more interested in keep second-place threat Tiago Machado (RadioShack) on a short leash and was glad to see the break chew up the day’s time bonuses. Scarponi was able to control the final attacks from his GC rivals to sew up the overall title. Machado ends up second at 7sec adrift with Luca Ascani (DAN) rounding out the podium at 33sec back.
“As the five escapees pulled away, I felt it was a good news to avoid any risk because of bonifications,” Scarponi said. “Obviously I had to keep Machado under control, that was not a heavy task having such a strong team at my side.”
The victory bodes well for Scarponi’s Giro chances and his first stage-race win on the season after being close, with second at the Volta a Catalunya, third at Tirreno-Adriatico and fourth at the Giro di Sardegna.
The Trentino tour is a good proving ground ahead of the Giro. A handful of riders have won at Trentino and gone on to claim the maglia rosa, including Francesco Moser, Paolo Savoldelli, Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego.