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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

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4th Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali - 2.3

Italy, March 24-28, 2004

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Stage 4 - March 27: Casalgrande-Pavullo, 156.5 km

Domina effect for Scarponi and Simeoni

Michele Scarponi (Domina Vacanze)
Photo ©: Sirotti

Domina Vacanze's Michele Scarponi and Filippo Simeoni pulled off a mini coup for their team by placing first and second in the fourth stage of the Settimana Coppi & Bartali. After the 156 km stage between Casalgrande and Pavullo, Scarponi crossed the line three seconds in front of his teammate, with Alberto Ongarato (Fassa Bortolo) leading home the peloton containing race leader Mirko Celestino (Saeco) at four seconds. Celestino thus kept his overall lead going into tomorrow's final stage, but Scarponi now sits on the same time and will try and gain any advantage tomorrow.

On a cold, hard day, Scarponi and Simeoni launched their attack on the last climb with 30 km to go. Simeoni went first before being joined by Scarponi, and the two rode in perfect tandem to keep the chasing bunch at bay by the barest of margins. A crash involving Yaroslav Popovych (Colnago-Landbouwkrediet) in the finale slowed the chasing momentum just enough so that the front two riders could stay away.

"We've dreamt of arriving first and second at the finish for a long time, practically as long as we've known each other," said Scarponi, who is good friends with Simeoni. "But the effort it took, the suffering. It was almost better not to win! No, I'm joking: I'm destroyed, but who would have thought it? Did you see Simeoni? This was not a victory, but a true enterprise. It was the most beautiful thing that we could do: to make the race, then to attack, always believing in ourselves. And behind we had Celestino, Noè, chance of making it. I hear it said that these exploits excite people and help cycling."

"This guy Michele is the future of Italian cycling," said Simeoni. "For me, being his neighbour, helping him grow, is an honour: It reminds me of Pantani in Carrera, all those years ago. I have grown fond of him. The victory of Scarponi today is just as important as mine in the Vuelta, on Collado Villalba last year. For Michele I give the utmost, you have no idea how many times we dreamt, Michele and I, of arriving at the finish alone. And we succeeded: nearly dying to try and win, I felt a terrible pain in my legs, but I did not think of letting go."


Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


1 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze                    3.57.32
2 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Domina Vacanze                        0.03
3 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                        0.04
4 Paolo Valoti (Ita) Domina Vacanze
5 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo
6 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
7 Raffaele Illiano (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia
8 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
9 Ivan Fanelli (Ita) Amore e Vita-Beretta
10 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Team Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli

General classification after stage 4

1 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco                             12.50.37
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze
3 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres           0.05
4 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Saeco                            0.10
5 Andrea Noè (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                            0.11
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
7 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres               0.14
8 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo          0.17
9 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Domina Vacanze                   0.23
10 Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Ukr) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo