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    "My condition was very good, that's why I could compete for the victory"

Photo: Sirotti










01.03.2013 @ 11:35 Posted by Jesper Johannesen


Yesterday, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) made the selection on the final climb up Monte Pitoro in the GP Citta di Camaiore and sprinted to a superb second place behind the all-conquering Peter Sagan (Cannondale). As the team's captain for the Paris-Nice, the signs are encouraging for the young Italian.


Diego Ulissi has had a very strong start to the season and with Filippo Pozzato has been one of his team's strongest early-season performers. After using an overall 14th place at the Tour de San Luis in January as build-up, he further improved in the Challenge Mallorca where he was near the front on the hardest days. In the Trofeo Laigueglia, he was the key domestique in Pozzato's victory when the pair followed an attack by Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini - Selle Italia) in the final, and the performance gave him an impressive 4th place.


With his second place yesterday, he underlined his strong start to the season. After using teammates Luca Wackermann, Adriano Malori, Alessandro Petacchi and Manuele Mori to hunt down the early breakaway, he asked Przemyslaw Niemiec to up the pace further at the bottom of the final climb up Monte Pitoro. He made the final 12-man selection when teammate Michele Scarponi put in a furious acceleration near the top, and he used his fast finish to net his first podium of the season.


After the race, he was pleased with his sensations and the support of his team.


"My condition was very good, that's why I could compete for the victory," Ulissi explained. "The support by the team was great. In the final part of the race, Scarponi gave his contribution, but I could not precede Sagan".


With the confirmation of his strong condition, he now looks to lead his team at Paris-Nice which kicks off Sunday with a 3,9 km prologue near the French capital. It finishes a week later with the legendary time trial on Col d'Eze.


Scarponi encouraged by performance

GP Citta di Camaiore was also the race of the year for Michele Scarponi. After having been suspended due to his connections to banned doctor Michele Ferrari during a three-month period over the winter season, he was kept away from racing in the early part of the season by his team which was unconvinced by his proclaims that his dealings had nothing to do with doping. A meeting between Scarponi, his lawyer and the team managers last week cleared up the situation, and Scarponi was allowed to race again - even if his contract will not be extended when it expires at the end of the season.


After GP Lugano was cancelled on Sunday, Scarponi finally opened his season with a strong showing and a 10th place finish yesterday. He was the main aggressor on the Monte Pitoro before he devoted his energy to teammate Ulissi. He was very pleased that his break has not slowed him down.


"It  has been nice to feel the good sensations which I had hoped for. During my break, I trained constantly on the road, and I quickly got positive feedback on this work. Diego was in great shape, too but we found a hard nut to crack."


Cunego looking to Strade Bianche

The team's third captain for the race was Damiano Cunego who has had a low-key start to the season. in the lead-up to the race, he expressed that this was the occasion where he would for the first time look for a personal result. He was, however, left disappointed since he was unable to follow the accelerations and ended in the first big chasing group.


Cunego now looks to Saturday's Strade Bianche where he hopes to  finally get a result and where he is expected to lead his team in the absence of Ulissi and Scarponi.


"The selection of Mount Pitoro was strong, and we did a nice pace," he said after the race. "It  was an important day in view of Strade Bianche which is a race that I like and where I would like to do well. "



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