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Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) kicked to his fifth win on the 2012 season after taking both stages and the overall at the abbreviated version of the Giro Reggio Calabria in Italy over the weekend.
The Italian’s fifth win on the young 2012 season puts him at the top of the winner’s column so far this year. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) has four wins while reigning world champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) has two.
Viviani, who turned 23 last week, is poised for a breakout season this year and wants to start winning races of higher quality. For 2012, he’s taking aim at a gold medal on the track in London in the omnium as well as pointing toward more success in high-caliber races on the WorldTour.
Up next for Viviani are the World Cup track event this weekend in London and then Paris-Nice in early March. Both represent a new challenge for the up-and-coming Italian sprinter.
“These two events are very important for my season,” Viviani said. “I’d like to come back to London for the Olympic Games while in France I’d like to take the next step in quality in a WorldTour race.”
Viviani is now in his third season with Liquigas. A fast finisher, Viviani is gaining more confidence now that his teammates work for him in the mass sprints. In his rookie season, he picked up stage wins in Cuba and Turkey before taking some late-season victories in Belgium. In 2011, he picked up eight wins, including victories in such far-flung races as those in India, China and two stages at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, where American fans got their first look at the new Italian sprinter.
So far in 2012, he’s won stages in the Tour de San Luís, both stages and the overall at Reggio Calabria and defended his win from last year at the Italian season opener, GP Costa degli Etruschi.
“The goal of the day was among the first to the finish and bring home the first overall,” Viviani said. “The second stage victory was the icing on the cake and came again thanks to the splendid work of companions. If this double success makes me happy, it makes me even more pleased with the increased awareness of the condition, which is improving ahead of the next major events.”