Solo training rewarded for Gasparotto with Il Lombardia fifth place
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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Solo training rewarded for Gasparotto with Il Lombardia fifth place

by Kyle Moore at 11:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro di Lombardia
 
Hard luck finish to season for Nibali after duplicate crash

Enrico GasparottoEnrico Gasparotto (Astana) used a late charge to net fifth place in Sunday’s Il Lombardia, as the Italian one-day specialist came back to a group that had gotten away on the day’s final climb.

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) rode away for his second consecutive victory in the race, while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff), and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) punched it out for the final two podium places. Valverde pulled away for second, while Majka won the battle for third as Martin slid out in the rain-slickened final bend.

Gasparotto sprinted up from behind and nearly caught Martin, but the Irishman out-stretched the Italian for fourth.

The former Amstel Gold Race winner was still more than pleased with his top five result, given that be obtained the finish without the benefit of racing the Vuelta a España or the World Championships.

“I didn't do the Vuelta and I didn't race at Worlds, so that means I trained a lot at home to get ready for this race,” Gasparotto explained triumphantly. “With motor pacing, with a full preview of the course last weekend, with everything. Okay, so I didn't win today, but everybody who was in front of me was in Spain fighting for GC or racing at the front in Florence.

“I am very, very happy with the result because I prepared for everything today and I knew the roads and all of the climbs very, very well.”

Even if Gasparotto didn’t begin the day as Astana’s main rider, Vincenzo Nibali suffered another stroke of bad luck with a day-ending crash, so Gasparotto went to work playing a strategic game. He managed his equipment for the course’s changing terrain, which he believes played in his favor in the finale.

"I changed my bike twice so I could have the 53 for the descent after the last hill and also for the Sormano, which is so dangerous and so slippery,” Gasparotto added. “When Rodriguez attacked I kept my own rhythm because I knew the climb very well, and when I got to the top I counted maybe 13 riders in front me. Then I put it in the 53 and went absolutely all out.

“I don't know how many people I passed, but when I got to the last bridge with 800 metres to the finish I looked back and didn't see anybody. And when I crossed the line I had no idea what my result was. Only when I asked the soigneurs and the mechanics - they told me I was either fourth or fifth, and I was so happy.”

The feelings after the race were different for Nibali, who crashed as a heavy favourite in the World Championships road race, only to fight his way back and then settle for a heartbreaking fourth place. Nibali suffered a similar crash in the Giro di Lombardia, forcing him to pull out long before the race reached Lecco.

“I crashed on the same hip that I fell on at the World Championships last week, and so I have a very deep bruise right now. I'm okay, but I couldn't stand up after the crash,” Nibali stated.

Team doctor Andrea Andreazzoli gave his squad leader the all clear after an examination, and said that most of his Astana team had trouble staying upright on another wet edition of Il Lombardia.

"Vincenzo fell on his hip and needed to be examined, but he is fine. In the same crash Paolo Tiralongo also crashed, and he suffered more serious abrasions and a bruise to his abdomen. Later in the race Francesco Gavazzi came down on a wet descent, so in total we had three crashes today," Andreazzoli said.

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