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Italian National Championships - CN

Santa Croce sull'Arno, Italy, June 22-27, 2004

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Day 6 - June 27: Elite Men's Road Race, 256 km

Una Cosa Stupenda

Cristian Moreni takes Maglia Tricolore

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Moreni shared today's podium
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Interviewed by Italian television after her dad Cristian won today's Italian Pro Road Championships in Santa Croce sull'Arno, 10 year old Sara Moreni told the viewers that, "It was really stupendous...it's been our family dream and now it's true."

Moreni is a likeable 32 year old from Asola, near Mantova and on a hot, windy summer day in the heart of Tuscany, the Alessio rider took a tight sprint win to capture the prestigious Italian title from up and coming Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze) and Mauro Gerosa (Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie), who just pipped former teammate Paolo Bossoni (Lampre) for bronze.

After his recent strong ride in the Route du Sud, Moreni knew he had great condition coming into the Italian championships. On a hot (40 degrees), humid day where there were only 35 finishers out of 164 starters, Moreni took his 7th career victory, a win that was reminiscent of last September in Padova. There he won a close sprint in the Giro dell'Veneto that got him his first selection to the Italian national team last October in Hamilton. Despite his fabulous form, Moreni will not start the Tour de France next Saturday in Liege, Belgium as it was never on his race program this year.

Runner-up Marinangeli was disappointed to lose, but not that much. At 23, the talented rider from Umbria has found his place in the pro ranks. "Today I'm really happy but I wanted to win," he said.

Last year, Marinangeli crashed in the Tour of Langkawi and broke his pelvis and missed much of the season, but the 23 year old has shown that he's a real racer this season. 18 times in the top ten so far this season but has yet too break through with a win. Marinangeli has great legs right now and will be a rider to watch for a possible stage win in the first 10 days of the upcoming Tour De France.

After Moreni put on his new Maglia Tricolore and the Italian military band played the Inno di Mameli, the Italian national anthem, he told RAI-TV's Alessandra Di Stefano that "In my heart this morning, I knew I could win this race...at the Giro I had the form to win a stage but it didn't happen. I had a great race in France last week and even though (Brad) McGee won overall, I knew I was riding really well."

When asked if his Italian championship win would put him on the short list for Athens selection, Moreni smiled a big smile and said "that's up to Ballerini (Italy's National Selector)...I'll be ready to go to Athens if he calls me." But Moreni is most interested in selection to the Italian World Road Championship team in October for the Verona World's. His hometown of Mantova is only 30km away and his tifosi will certainly on hand to support him.

Along with the other riders, Moreni shared today's podium with his most important tifosi, his daughter Sara and his 7 year old son Gabrielle. Una Cosa Stupenda for the modest, unassuming Moreni who had his ride of a lifetime today in Santa Croce sull'Arno. If he's not called to go to Athens, Moreni will take his wife and kids and his bike and join millions of his countrymen at the beach in July. Moreni will get to show off his new Maglia Tricolore at the Hew Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany in August 1.

How it unfolded

Danilo Di Luca (Saeco)
Photo ©: Sirotti
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With fifteen laps of a 17km circuit to cover today, 164 riders started this morning in Santa Croce, west of Firenze and just near Pisa. It was a fast start and with the hot temps and wind, the only climb up the 1.4 km Poggio Adorno seemed harder than it was. After an early break of local lad Tafi, Pinotti, Gobbi and Aggiano was pulled back, there was nothing to report until a 13 man move got away with 10 laps to go. Di Luca and Pozzato bridged up and the big break was the move of the day, while both top Tuscans Bettini and then Bartoli tried to get across, but they didn't make it.

On the penultimate ascent of Poggio Adorno, Di Luca was forcing and Pozzato dropped back with cramps. On the last lap, there were nine riders away (Di Luca, Marinangeli, Bertolini, Moreni, Gerosa, Solari, Bossoni, Valoti and Murro) and the last named rider lost contact on the final ascent of Poggio Adorno.

In the sprint, an over-anxious Di Luca went early, followed by Valoti, but Moreni's final rush ruled on the hot, hard day in Tuscany.

Photography

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Results

1 Cristian Moreni (Alessio Bianchi)                  5.58.15 (42.91 km/h)
2 Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze)                       
3 Mauro Gerosa (Vini Caldirola Nobili Rubinetterie)         
4 Paolo Bossoni (Lampre)                                    
5 Danilo Di Luca (Saeco)                                    
6 Alessandro Bertolini (Alessio Bianchi)                    
7 Luca Solari (Barloworld Androni)                          
8 Paolo Valoti (Domina Vacanze)                             
9 Christian Murro (Miche)                               0.35
10 Marco Milesi (Vini Caldirola Nobili Rubinetterie)    3.22
11 Paolo Bettini (Mx1 Quickstep Davitamon)              3.40
12 Giosue' Bonomi (Saeco)                                   
13 Ivan Fanelli (Mx3 Amore & Vita Beretta)                  
14 Salvatore Commesso (Saeco)                               
15 Angelo Lopeboselli (Team Lpr)                            
16 Gabriele Missaglia (Barloworld Androni)                  
17 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Saeco)                         3.50
18 Filippo Simeoni (Domina Vacanze)                     4.23
19 Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo)                          
20 Leonardo Giordani (De Nardi)                         4.50
21 Alex Gualandi (Mx2 Flanders Afincom)                     
22 Nicola Loda (Tenax)                                      
23 Fabio Baldato (Alessio Bianchi)                          
24 Francesco Failli (Domina Vacanze)                    5.02
25 Michele Bartoli (Team CSC)
26 Rinaldo Nocentini (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo)
27 Michele Scotto d'Abusco (Lampre)
28 Eddy Serri (Barloworld))
29 Giulio Tomi (Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie)
30 Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio-Bianchi)
31 Stefano Zanini (Quick.Step-Davitamon)
32 Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo)
33 Stefano Boggia (Team ICET)
34 Alessandro d'Andrea (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo)
35 Fabrizio Guidi (Team CSC)

Starters: 164
Classified: 35