Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) shone in today's hard summit finish in the Giro del Trentino as the usually loyal domestique ended third behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) and took 6th overall. With Jose Serpa also on the attack in today's race, the Lampre team is confident in the team that will support Michele Scarponi in the Giro d'Italia.
The Lampre-Merida team has had a race of ups and downs in the Giro del Trentino. After the joy of a surprisingly strong team time trial on Tuesday, the team was disappointed to see leader Michele Scarponi drop out of GC contention of the first stage in the mountains on Wednesday. However, the 2011 Giro winner bounced back yesterday as a key protagonist in the day's successful break and he took a fine 3rd place in a very hard stage.
Today the team's captain chose to take it easy and thus keep his powder dry for Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Instead it was up to Pole Przemyslaw Niemiec to deliver the goods on the steep slopes of the Sega di Ala climb.
And the loyal domestique did just that. He joined the lead group when Paolo Tiralongo (Astana( accelerated hard on the lower slopes of the climb and when Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) escaped, he fought valiantly to minimize his loss and ended third just ahead of young talent Fabio Aru (Astana).
The result was good enough to move the Pole into 6th overall thus confirming the potential he has shown during the last year. He ended last year strongly with a 15th place in the Vuelta a Espana and this year he has been in the top 10 in both of the hard WorldTour races Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta a Catalunya.
However, Niemiec will be back in his usual support role in the Giro d'Italia where he will line up as part of a formidable formation of climbers. Jose Serpa and Kristijan Durasek have both put their shape on show by participating in breaks in Trentino and young talent Mattia Cattaneo has once again proved that he has a promising future ahead of him.
Sports director Fabrizio Bontempi feels that Scarponi has any reason to be satisfied with the support he can expect in the Giro's mountains.
“Today we were once again protagonists and always in the heat of the race, first with Serpa as a great attacker in the first part of the stage along with 9 other athletes, then with Niemiec in the final as he has managed to stay with the best," he said. "This confirms that he is a great rider for stage races and a great domestique for our next races."
"We believe that Scarponi can be relaxed about the team who will support him in the Giro d’ Italia," he added. "All of this gives us hope and we can start the pink race with a lot of confidence. We are sorry because we lost the possibility to win a stage but we are looking forward to the next events."
Scarponi will use Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege as his last race before he lines up for the Giro's start in Naples on May 4 in an attempt to repeat his 2011 victory in the race.
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