Scarponi sets sights on early season goal of Tirreno-Adriatico
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Scarponi sets sights on early season goal of Tirreno-Adriatico

by VeloNation Press at 8:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
Reconnaissance of Prati di Tivo climb hampered by snow

Michele ScarponiLast year’s Giro d’Italia runner up Michele Scarponi is on course for a rematch with the rider who beat him in the Italian Grand Tour, Alberto Contador, in March’s Tirreno-Adriatico.

Scarponi finished six minutes ten seconds behind Contador in the Giro d’Italia. The Italian is motivated to try to beat him in the shorter Italian stage race, although Contador’s participation depends on the outcome of his CAS appeal.

Scarponi is working hard to be in shape for the race, making it clear that he wants to perform there. “Tirreno-Adriatico will be the first main target of my 2012, so I'd like to be well prepared,” the Lampre ISD rider said.

As part of that buildup, he tried to do a reconnaissance of the Prati di Tivo climb on December 31st. The tough ascent is tipped to be part of the race, and reaches 1450 metres above sea level. It ends at a ski resort.

“Because of the possibility that this climb could be on the race course, I preferred to see it directly,” Scarponi said, referring to the journey to the ski station with team-mate Alessandro Spezialetti. “Unluckily, we had to stop our training in Pietracamela, at six kilometres from the top because of the snow.”

Still, he believes he has an approximation about what is in store. “The description that Spezialetti told me and the part of road I saw indicated me that this could be a tough climb.”

Now 32 years of age, Scarponi is one of the top Italian stage race riders. He returned from an Operacion Puerto ban to win the 2009 Tirreno-Adriatico and last year took third overall plus a stage.

His victories include three stages in the Giro d’Italia, the 2007 Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale, the 2010 Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda and last year’s Giro del Trentino.

He is considering targeting the Tour de France this year. He rode the race just once in the past, finishing 32nd overall in 2004. Since then has concentrated on the Giro d’Italia, netting 31st, fourth and second in his last three appearances there.


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