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3rd Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali - 2.3

Italy, March 26-30, 2003

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Stage 2 - March 27: Riccione - Faenza, 247 km

Kolobnev gains first pro win

Pantani moves up

Alexander Kolobnev
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Russian rider Alexander Kolobnev (Domina Vacanze) has taken his first professional victory, winning the second stage of the Settimana Coppi Bartali in a nine man sprint. The 21 year old finished ahead of Saeco's Mirko Celestino, who took over the leadership of the race. In third place was Alessio's Franco Pellizotti. Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno) had another good ride today to finish 14th, and move into 11th overall.

The stage from Riccione to Faenza was the longest of the tour at 247 kilometres. Included were two ascents of the Monte Casale (6 km at 5%) and Monte Trebbio (6 km at 8%). On the final climb, a group got clear including Kolobnev, Celestino, Popovych, Casagrande, Rumsas, Pellizotti, Tiralongo, Lopeboselli and Kolobnev's teammate Scarponi. Chasing them was another group containing Pantani and Rumsas, who ended up 42 seconds behind the leaders.

Kolobnev had the assistance of Scarponi in the sprint, and he did not disappoint, accounting for Celestino and Pellizotti, and showing that Domina Vacanze has several strings to its bow.

Kolobnev wins
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

"I am happy with this victory, I wanted it a lot," said Kolobnev. "I have to thank Scarponi a lot for helping me in the finale. I made the selection on the ascent of the Casale, then I made precious seconds on the descent. Behind, the group was really strong. I was caught by a few riders, and there was immediate cooperation amongst us. In the sprint, the first one to jump was Mirko Celestino, I immediately took his wheel because I knew that he was strong. With 30 meters to go, I decided to jump past him, I put all my force on the pedals and finally I won my first race as a professional."

"My mamma Lyubou, yesterday morning sent me an e-mail yesterday in which she wrote that I would win today. I dedicate this victory to her and to my directeur sportif Pino Petito who has been close by me in this period."


Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


1 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze-Elitron          6.36.30
2 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Saeco
3 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio
4 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre
5 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
6 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
7 Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
8 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Alessio
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron              0.04
10 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre                             0.42
14 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Scanavino
36 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio                           1.15
46 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                           10.28

General classification after stage 2

1 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Saeco                        8.39.13
2 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre                          0.04
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago            0.08
4 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio                            0.12
6 Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone   0.14
7 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Alessio                          0.16
8 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo             0.20
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron              0.22
10 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre                             0.46
11 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Scanavino               0.54