KUSADASI, Turkey (VN) – Despite his young age, Sacha Modolo made it look easy against an elite field of sprinters in Friday’s sixth stage at the Tour of Turkey.
The 24-year-old Italian dominated the sprint, relegating Matt Goss (GreenEdge) into second by more than two bike lengths in a sprint dress rehearsal for next month’s Giro d’Italia.
“This will give me the extra confidence I need to go to the Giro,” said Modolo after his first win of this season. “I have been close this year and have missed a little bit of luck. I wanted to win a stage here and I am glad to have it. Now I am ready for the Giro.”
The victory is the second stage win a row for the Colnago-CSF Inox team, coming a day after neo-pro Andrea Di Corrado kicked to his first pro win out of a breakaway.
Modolo was one of the breakout sprinters last season, winning 10 races in the second half of the year including stages at the Tour of Denmark and the GP Agostoni, and riding to second behind Mark Cavendish in the Olympic test event in London.
So far this year, he’s sprinted to four podiums, including near-misses at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France earlier this month.
“I am getting better in the bunch sprints and I have the support of my team, which makes a big difference,” he said. “I hope my lead-out man here (Marco Coledan) is selected for the Giro, because we are working well together so far. I feel more confidence when he is there to guide me in the sprint.”
Modolo is quickly developing into Italy’s hottest new sprinter. Along with the likes of Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini), Modolo is making his presence known in the mass gallops in and out of Italy.
Modolo’s immediate goal is to win a stage at the Giro. His Colnago-CSF Inox squad will have Domenico Pozzovivo, hot off victory at the Giro del Trentino, for the GC, but Modolo will be the team’s main sprinter following the departure of Manuel Belletti to Ag2r-La Mondiale this year.
“I know it will be difficult to win a stage at the Giro because there will be a lot of good sprinters there, above all, Cavendish,” he said. “I know I can beat a quality field, because here was have Goss, Renshaw and Greipel. The Giro is something else, but I believe I can win.”
After the Giro, he will likely be heading to London to race for Italy in the Summer Olympic Games. Last summer, only Cavendish could beat him in the test event held on the Olympic course.
“The main goal for the first part of the season was Milan-San Remo, but that didn’t work out as I had hoped,” said Modolo, who was 24th there. “My dream is to win a medal in the Olympics. I like the course and I will be training especially for the race.”
Whether he’ll medal there – or what color it might be – remains to be seen, but Modolo is already making a name for himself. A win at the Giro could position him among the favorites for the podium in London.