Milan-Sanremo: Pozzato takes sixth, weeks after fractured collarbone
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Milan-Sanremo: Pozzato takes sixth, weeks after fractured collarbone

by Shane Stokes at 8:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
 
Is Italian back on track after previous disappointments?

Filippo PozzatoHe’s been faulted in the past for being too conservative when in a winning position and also not making the most of his talent, but Filippo Pozzato yesterday showed commendable grit in racing to sixth place in Milan-Sanremo.

For a rider who won the race in 2006, the placing itself may not seem that extraordinary, but the circumstances elevated the performance above the bare statistic of the finishing position.

On February 9th, little over a month before yesterday’s race, Pozzato fell heavily in Qatar and broke his right clavicle. Three days later he went under the knife, having surgery to pin the fracture. He returned to racing six days after that, riding the Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy, and continued to compete after that in order not to lose all form before La Primavera.

Depending on your viewpoint, 2012 represents a new start for the former Katusha rider or, alternatively, his last chance to recapture his previous winning form. Pozzato has long been regarded as one of the most talented of the Italian riders, and knew that he had to make his move to the Farnese Vini Selle Italia team work.

General manager Luca Scinto may not have got the victory yesterday, but he recognized a brave performance. “I am pleased about the race done by my team and I want to give a special applause to Pozzato, who not only has demonstrated a great motivation in this past month, but was also able to confirm today that he has a strength and good qualities,” he stated.

“Sixth position in Milano-Sanremo, just 34 days after an operation on the clavicle, is a very good sign of a cyclist who, with us, is finding real motivation and his natural strength. Pippo is a champion, otherwise he would not arrive in that position today.”

He also pointed out the performances of other riders, including Paolo De Negri, who infiltrated the day’s big break and gave the team a presence up front, Elia Favilli, who helped drive the pace on the Le Manie climb, thinning out the bunch.

That plus the work of the other riders helped set up the team’s two leaders for the finale. The climb of the Cipressa was curiously quiet, but they then raced onto the Poggio and there the Farnese Vini Selle Italia captains raced hard.

“In the final Gatto and Pozzato were in the right positions, ready to fight for the victory,” he said. “Both of them didn't seize the right moment on the Poggio, but they did their best, especially Gatto, to close on the three breakaway riders [Fabian Cancellara, Vincenzo Nibali and race winner Simon Gerrans – ed.]. At the end the sixth position of Pozzato is a good international signal from our leader, who, along with Gatto [who was 14th – ed.], will now go to the north with big ambitions.”

Next up for the team is Wednesday’s GP Waregem, with the Harelbek race following two days later and then Gent-Wevelgem next Sunday.

One week later, the Tour of Flanders will follow and there Pozzato will hope to complete his rapid recovery from injury and win the big Classic.
 

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