By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002
Fassa Bortolo’s Francesco Casagrande did his Giro d’Italia ambitions the world of good here Friday by winning the hilly second stage of the Tour of Trentino to take a convincing overall lead.
In a race that is regarded as a warm-up for next month’s Giro d’Italia, Casagrande held off former Giro champions Gilberto Simoni, of Lampre, and Mapei rider Stefano Garzelli to finish the 166km stage between Arco and Velloi in 4:04:47. Mexican Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, who was left behind in the final three kilometers as Casagrande launched attack after attack, finished second 23sec behind while Lampre team leader Simoni was third at 38sec.
Garzelli, who finished second last Sunday in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and also has designs on the Giro’s maglia rosa, finished fifth at 0:53 as Casagrande rode home.
The 31-year-old Italian now holds an overall lead of 25 seconds over Cuapio while Simoni sits third overall, 42 seconds back. Casagrande says the Giro is next in his sights.
“It was important to arrive as a group on the final climb to Velloi, where I made a break for it five times in the final three kilometers,” said Casagrande. “On my last attempt Cuapio finally relented and I just kept on riding. It’s a good test for me ahead of the Giro.”
Saturday’s 156km third stage is held between Merano and Coredo.
1. Francesco Casagrande (I) Fassa-Bortolo 4:04:47;
2. Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) at 0:23;
3. Gilberto Simoni (I) at 0:38;
4. Peter Luttemberger (A) at 0:47;
5. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) at 0:53;
6. Faat Zakirov (Rus) at 0:54;
7. Tadey Valjavec (Slo) at 0:54;
8. Andrei Teteriouk (Kaz), at 1:03;
9. Gerhard Trampusch (A) at 1:13;
10. Massimo Codol (I) at 1:18.
1. Casagrande (I), 8:48:11;
2. Perez, at 0:25;
3. Simoni, 0:42;
4. Luttemberger 0:52;
5. Garzelli, at 0:58;
6. Zakirov, at 0:59;
7. Valjavec, 0:59;
8. Teteroiuk, at 1:08;
9. Trampusch, at 1:18;
10. Codol, at 1:23.