Tour of California: Francesco Chicchi talks after his win
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tour of California: Francesco Chicchi talks after his win

by Jered Gruber at 8:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California

Francesco Chicchi took his sixth victory of the still young season today in the Tour of California's Stage 4 bunch sprint finish Modesto. The 29-year-old Italian had no problems dispatching JJ Haedo and Mark Cavendish en route to the win. He confesses that it has been a dream start to 2010 for him.

"From the start of the season, I had a great start at the Tour de San Luis, Tour of Qatar, and the Coppi e Bartali. I then had a great 20 days of rest with a lot of training with my training partner, Mario Cipollini. I've restarted my season here in California with a strong desire to do well and win a stage in California."

Though the break looked like the typical sacrificial lamb, the view from the field was not quite so simple. "There were three groups chasing: Liquigas, Columbia, and Cervelo. They all contributed especially from 80k to go. The break was going really well though. We found a sidewind though and that's probably where we picked up quite a bit of time on them."

It would seem to be a bittersweet win for Chicchi today - he took the win in America while his national tour rolls on many thousands of miles away, but Chicchi was still content. "Obviously the Giro is the biggest race for an Italian, but the Tour of California is a big race for our Liquigas sponsors here in America. I would love to race the Giro, but our Giro team is built around Ivan Basso, and it's right that he has eight guys there to support him in that goal."

Chicchi is following the race back home, but not too closely: "We watch it a little bit, but not so closely. They usually finish while we're eating breakfast, so we get to watch it a little."

Chicchi is pleased with the change in the schedule from February to May, "I prefer having California now. It was so cold last year. They say there's always sun in California, but it rained all week last year. We've taken a little water this week, but not so bad. At least it's better than it is in Italy right now."

When asked how the final kilometer played out, Chicchi had a lot to say in Italian, but a slightly smaller summary followed in translation: "Inside the final kilometer, Cervelo were pulling for Bos. With 300 meters to go, Peter Sagan gave me a nice pull. From there, I started the sprint. I think I did the sprint as well as I could. I found a bit of a headwind when I hit out, but it wasn't a problem."

It didn't take long for the name Mark Cavendish to come up. Chicchi picked up a huge scalp today. "Obviously, we are rivals on the road, but we are good friends outside of the race. Winnings is always good, but to beat the world's number one sprinter is even better."

When asked for some more specific metrics from his stage winning effort, Chicchi replied that he wasn't looking, but still managed the rather vague estimate of 72 kph. Not bad for having no idea. When asked about his maximum power, he once again responded that he didn't know, but assured everyone that "it was not less than 1700 watts."

At one point, the direction of the questioning turned to his embattled teammate, Franco Pellizotti. Chicchi was firm in his and his team's support of the 2009 Tour de France King of the Mountains: "The team has obviously stood behind France, since they haven't received any other word from the UCI. We stand behind him 100% and hope everything comes good for Franco. The biological passport is still in a bit of an experimental stage."

"I want to dedicate this win to my teammates who worked incredibly well for me today, and this whole season so far. I'm really proud to win in the United States. It's a really important, great race. I love to win in America."

As Chicchi stood up to leave, he smiled to the gathered journalists and said, "Sorry for not speaking English." He walked off a happy man, but returned 30 seconds later with his special edition Cannondale Super Six. The bike, painted in an Old West Style with the nickname 'The Sheriff', is a point of pride for the fast man. He placed it on top of the interviewing table and showed everyone his bike. It was a happy moment to watch him smile proudly with his bike on display for all to see.


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