56th GP Liberazione - 1.7.1

Italy, April 25, 2001

2000 Results    Results    Past winners

Loddo Leaps In

Sardinian sprint phenom grabs 56th GP Liberazione

By Tim Maloney, cyclingnews.com correspondent

Italy's top ranked U23 rider Alberto Loddo (Zoccorinese-Vellutex) sprinted home to victory from 20 other riders to capture the prestigious 138km international race in the center of Rome. On a bright spring day, Loddo's team Zoccorinese-Vellutex and the Ukranian National team dominated the GP Liberazione, despite strong efforts by Italian teams like Zalf and San Pellegrino.

Early on, a large group of 18 riders got away for almost 80km but with no real agreement among the various factions, they came back with seven of the 6 km laps to go. After various attacks, French rider Le Mevel went on the attack and his insistent riding provoked the winning counter attack where 21 riders managed to definitively distance the peloton. Once Le Mevel came back, it was Popovych (Ukr), silver medalist in last years World's, who rides in Italy for Zoccorinese-Vellutex went on the attack, but it was more to soften up the competition for Loddo than anything.

On the last lap, last year's winner Bernucci (Zoccorinese-Vellutex), Popovych and his Ukranian teammate Grischenko were active, with the peloton chasing at 35". Despite many final attacks, Zoccorinese-Vellutex covered everything and as the small group rounded the sharp right hand bend with 300 meters to go, the diminutive Loddo was right on the wheel of Popovych right where he belonged.

Loddo used his great jump (2 bronze medals in '97 Jr. Track Worlds in Kilo and Olympic Sprint) to get a big gap and blast home for the win, his seventh of the season. Popovych came home 2nd, with Pietropoli (Zalf Euromobil) in 3rd.

Tomorrow starts the U23 stage race Giro delle Regione, where Loddo is looking to add stage wins to his seasonal victory total and his Ukranian teammate Popovych is the favorite for overall GC victory.

Australian U23 coach Broan Stephens adds: For the Australians the main hope was Graeme Brown in a bunch sprint and they worked hard to control the breaks throughout the race. As it turned out , a late break went with about 20km to go and Gene Bates went with it. It stayed away and the sprint was won by Lodo from Vellutex. Gene managed 13th place, showing what an emerging talent the 19 year old is in one of Italy's biggest under 23 races.

Results - 138 km

1 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Zoccorinese Vellutex Casa Selezione     3.20.00 (41.211 km/h)
2 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Zoccorinese Vellutex Casa Selezione
3 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Zalf Fior
4 Roman Luhoviy (Ukr) San Paolo
5 Luca Cappa (Ita) Sanpellegrino
6 Ivan Ravaioli (Ita) Zalf Fior
7 Guido Balbis (Ita) Fis Parolin
8 Alexander Kuchynsky (Blr) Grassi Mapei
9 Mauro Gerolimon (Ita) Aqua Mg Mema
10 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) French National Team

Past Winners

2000 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita)