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1st Criterium Marco Pantani - NE

Cesenatico, Italy, June 5, 2004

Results      Photo gallery

Cunego wins Pantani memorial

Damiano Cunego (Saeco) holds a wreath dedicated to the late Marco Pantani.
Photo ©: Sirotti

Giro d'Italia winner Damiano Cunego (Saeco) has won the first criterium held in memory of deceased Italian climbing star Marco Pantani. The race, held in Pantani's home town of Cesenatico, attracted 54 professionals and was held on a hilly circuit. The strong teams were Saeco, Fassa Bortolo and Alessio, who worked hard to set up the race for the attacks by their respective team leaders. The first time up the final climb, a group of 15 riders escaped, led by Fabio Sacchi (Fassa Bortolo). On the second time up the climb, Cunego attacked and was marked by Pellizotti. Cunego won the sprint and the pair finished with 15 seconds to spare on Panaria's Luca Mazzanti with Filippo Pozzato taking fourth.

"I wanted to win to dedicate the victory to Marco," said Cunego at the finish. "I want to thank all of the fans alongside the roads that cheered for all of us and for Pantani. I hope that Marco is pleased with the way we remembered him. There were many riders and it was a nice race."

Pellizotti and Cunego go for it
Photo ©: Sirotti

Second placed Franco Pellizotti added, "I am very happy to have been able to remember in this manner a champion like Pantani. The result is secondary, what mattered was to be present".

Luca Mazzanti said that, "I came here only for Marco. I raced together with him and had grown fond of him. It is clear that in the race it was difficult to compete with people like Cunego and Pellizotti. I am happy with my third place."

Finally, fourth placed Filippo Pozzato said, "For the young guys, Marco Pantani was an indescribable myth. To be here to remember him was the least we could do. To see how many people still love the Pirate is an emotion that should make everyone reflect."

Photography

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Results - 60 km

1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco 
2 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
3 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
4 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo