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3rd Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali - 2.3

Italy, March 26-30, 2003

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Stage 5 - March 30: Castellarano - Sassuolo, 161.8 km

Celestino clinches Coppi-Bartali

Ivanov wins
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Mirko Celestino (Saeco) wrapped up the overall victory in the 3rd Settimana Coppi-Bartali today with a strong third place in the final stage. Celestino gained another 4 seconds bonus when he finished behind Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio) and a definitely revitalised Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno-Scanavino), who seems to be getting better with each race. The win is Celestino's 11th in his career, and his team's eighth victory this season.

Celestino started the stage with only a 1 second advantage over Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), who was unable to break the 29 year old from Liguria. The Saeco team managed to control the stage sufficiently to place Celestino in the leading group, where he finished off the good work with a third place in the stage.

Mirko Celestino
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

"I have to thank all my Saeco team mates for their help," said Celestino. "Especially Tonti and Bucciero, they were fantastic. This year I seem to have finally found the fitness and morale of when I was at my best."

Mirko Celestino first burst onto the stage in 1999 when he won two rounds of the World Cup (HEW Cyclassics and the Tour of Lombardy). Since then he has taken many placings, but few wins. This year he has already started well with a second place in Milan-San Remo behind Paolo Bettini.

"I hope I can carry on like this and so do well in the classics with my teammates. At Saeco we want to be in the action in all the Northern Classics," he said.


Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


1 Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) Alessio                          4.06.07 (39.444 km/h)
2 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Scanavino
3 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Saeco
4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio
6 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre
7 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) CCC-Polsat
8 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
9 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
10 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron

Final general classification

1 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Saeco                     20.59.01 (38.296 km/h)
2 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre                        0.05
3 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio                          0.13
4 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze-Elitron           0.18
5 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago          0.19
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron            0.23
7 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Alessio                        0.29
8 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo           0.33
9 Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 0.47
10 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Scanavino             1.01
11 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
12 Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Scanavino
13 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
14 Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) Alessio
15 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval