39th Trofeo Laigueglia - 1.3

Italy, February 19, 2002

2001 results     Results    Past winners

Roar of the Young Lion

Winning Di Luca Opens '02 Season Like He Finished '01

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Danilo Di Luca
Photo ©: Sirotti

By Tim Maloney / Cyclingnews European Editor

On a warm, sunny day along the Italian Riviera, Saeco's new signing Danilo Di Luca took the Italian season opener in decisive manner in Tuesday's Trofeo Laigueglia. A satisfied Di Luca said after his win in the 39th edition of the Ligurian race, "I want to dedicate this win to my (Saeco) teammates; I'm sure we'll have others. To win a sprint from almost 20 other riders takes guts and luck and I had both today."

Di Luca outsprinted Eddy Mazzoleni (Tacconi-Caldirola), Serge Baguet (Lotto) and Fausto Dotti (Cage Magliere) who made the key move at the 1km kite that gapped the rest of the big break that had gotten away from the main group on the tough final climb up Colle Paravenna. "I tried to anticipate Di Luca, but just ran out of gas in the last 100 meters," said Mazzoleni. Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo), who was the best of the rest in 5th, said after Trofeo Laigueglia that "we (Fassa) controlled the race along with Saeco", but the disappointed Bartoli was peeved that no one chased down the front riders for him.

With Fassa Bortolo and Saeco in charge of Trofeo Laigueglia, the few early moves by Nicki Sorensen (CSC) and Michel Van Haecke (Colnago-Landbouwkredit) were reeled in by the end of two large laps that passed along the lungomare of Laigueglia. On the final climb of Paravenna, Di Luca made the first move. "I attacked at half speed at first, then gradually upped the pace." Panic ensued behind him and when the chasers did catch Di Luca and made the winding descent to via Aurelia along the seaside, the contenders were down to 20 riders.

Di Luca, last year's Trofeo Laigueglia winner Mirko Celestino (Saeco), Mazzoleni, Baguet, Dotti , Bartoli, Figueras (Panaria), Bettini (Mapei), Rumsas (Lampre), Savoldelli (Alexia), Gotti (Alessio), Gentili (Acqua & Sapone), Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Vinokourov (Telekom), Mazzanti (Mercantone Uno), Botcharov (AG2R), Tiralongo (Fassa Bortolo), Vanderwalle (Vlaanderen-T Interim), old warrior Massi (Amore & Vita) and Ferrara (Alessio) all made the key move of the day.

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Photo: © Sirotti

The last 12km to the finish were marked by repeated attacks by Vinokourov, Baguet, Botcharov, Massi, and finally Baguet, who made his usual move again in the final kilometer, with Di Luca, Mazzoleni and Dotti covering him. The others hesitated and the surging quartet was gone for good.

Mazzoleni made the first move up the middle of the road, but the in-form and determined Di Luca swept by him and with arms upraised took his first win of 2002.

"I'll ride a few stage races in Spain (Valencia and Murcia), then look for more results in Tirreneo-Adriatico," said Di Luca of his upcoming program. "To win Milano-San Remo in a sprint finish is impossible for me, but I'll make my moves on the Cipressa & the Poggio climbs."


Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Results - 172.5 km

1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport         4.29.36 (38.412 km/h)
2 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
3 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
4 Fausto Dotti (Ita) Cage Maglierie                   0.02
5 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
6 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
7 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Panaria
8 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
9 Raffaele Ferrara (Ita) Alessio
10 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Mercatone Uno
11 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Deutsche Telekom
12 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
13 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Alexia
14 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre-Daikin
15 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
16 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R
17 Ivan Gotti (Ita) Alessio
18 Rodolfo Massi (Ita) Amore & Vita
19 Frederic Finot (Fra) Jean Delatour                 1.23
20 Tom Boonen (Bel) US Postal Service                 1.25

Starters: 194 
Classified: 127

Past winners

2001 Mirko Celestino (Ita)
2000 Daniele Nardello (Ita)
1999 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita)
1998 Pascal Chanteur (Fra)
1997 Michele Bartoli (Ita)
1996 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)
1995 Johan Museeuw (Bel)
1994 Rolf Soerensen (Den)
1993 Lance Armstrong (USA)
1992 Sammy Moreels (Bel)
1991 Pascal Richard (Swi)