By VeloNews Interactive
Danilo Di Luca(Saeco-Longoni Sport)won Tuesday’s Trofeo Laigueglia in a sprint finish over 172km, in what is considered the opening round of the Italian cycling season.
Di Luca outsprinted compatriot Eddy Mazzoleni (Sacconi-Caldirola)and Lotto’s Serge Baguet to win the 39th running of the race in his first season with the Saeco team.
The race, characterized by a duel between Di Luca and Mediterranean Tour winner Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo), blew apart on the slopes of the Paravenna -the last climb of the race. Di Luca powered clear and went over the top with a ten-second advantage over Bartoli, Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas and Giuliano Figueras before sitting up and waiting for the three during the descent to the coastal city of Laigueglia.
With 20km to go, the four were caught by a chase group of 14 riders including his Saeco teammate, 2001 Laigueglia winner Mirko Celestino.
Closing in on the finish in Laigueglia, Celestino and Di Luca repeatedly attacked, finally allowing Di Luca to go clear with Mazzoleni and Fausto Dotti after chasing down Baguet in the final kilometer. After catching the Belgian, Di Luca attacked again and stayed clear, finishing ahead of his three companions.
“I’m proud to have won and dedicate this win to my new team mates at Saeco – Longoni Sport,” Di Luca said. “We’re a strong and well organized team. I really have to thank Celestino, his work was really precious.”
1. Danilo Di Luca (Saeco-Longoni Sport) km 172,6 in 4:29:36 (38.412kph); 2. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Sacconi-Caldirola s.t.; 3. Serge Baguet (B), Lotto) s.t.; 4. Fausto Dotti (I), Cage) at 0:03; 5. Michele Batoli (I), Fassa Bortolo s.t.; 6. Mirko Celestino (I) Saeco-Longoni Sport s.t.