Matteo Rabottini secures mountains competition in stage twenty break
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Matteo Rabottini secures mountains competition in stage twenty break

by Ben Atkins at 6:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Mixed fortunes for “giallo fluo” stage winners as Andrea Guardini disqualified for motor pacing

matteo rabottiniMatteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) secured his overall victory in the Giro d’Italia mountains competition in today’s twentieth stage. By putting himself in the day’s breakaway “Rambo” was able to pick up maximum points over the Passo del Tonale, in Aprica, and in Teglio, and, although he was dropped on the early slopes of the Mortirolo, he had done enough to make his blue jersey safe.

Rabottini took the blue jersey - which changed from its previous green colour this year to fit the branding of sponsor Banco Mediolanum - after his victory on stage 15 to the Pian dei Resinelli. After yesterday’s stage to Alpe di Pampeago, his lead in the classification was beginning to come under threat from Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago-CSF Inox), but by taking the three early climbs today he has secured the jersey.

There are no climbs in the pan-flat final time trial in Milano tomorrow, and Rabottini will wear an all-blue skinsuit instead of his team issue “giallo fluo” one; just as teammate Alfredo Balloni did in the Verona team time trial as he held the jersey in the opening stages.

With stage 20 winner - and far superior time triallist - Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) just 27 seconds behind current third place Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) ahead of the 30km test, Rabottini could well be the only Italian that makes it up onto Sunday’s podium.

Andrea Guardini denied the Maglia Nera by race commissaires

andrea guardiniWhile Rabottini was securing his Maglia Azzura, teammate - and fellow stage winner - Andrea Guardini was having less luck, as he was disqualified for taking pace behind cars; along with South African champion Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Barracuda), Dominique Rollin (FDJ-BigMat) and Ivan Velasco (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The 22-year-old sprinter was in line for the prestigious Maglia Nera [which was actually only briefly awarded for six years in the 1940s and 1950s, with the last one taken by Giovanni Pinarello in 1951 - ed] which is the Giro’s equivalent of the Tour de France’s Lanterne Rouge.

After crashing in the first week, Guardini had been struggling through his debut Giro, often finishing the toughest stages alone, minutes behind the other non-climbers. He earned the unusual distinction of finishing last in stage 17, first in stage 18, and then last again in stage 19. He would likely have been heading that way again on the road to the Stelvio today, had he and the other three not been penalised for taking pace from cars after being dropped on the Passo del Tonale.

“I accept - even if I don’t agree with - this decision,” he said after the stage. “Even if today would have been difficult for me. Anyway I'm happy for my Giro and I'll try to reach Milano next year.”

As well as being denied the prestigious - if purely symbolic - Maglia Nera, Guardini also misses the chance - as the last rider in the classification - of being the first rider to start tomorrow’s time trial.

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