Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) showed that he is returning to form at just the right time as he sprinted to a fine victory at the Circuito de Getxo-Memorial Ricardo Otxoa on Tuesday.
The Sicilian is one of the most stylish riders in the current peloton, but he encountered a big setback at this year’s Giro d’Italia when he was forced to abandon with breathing difficulties at the beginning of the final week.
There is no hiding class, however, and after recovering from his ailment and returning to competitive action in recent weeks, Visconti gave a fine demonstration of his talents in the Basque Country on Wednesday.
“It’s a really important victory for me due to all my troubles during the season,” Visconti said afterwards. “This victory is dedicated to them, especially to my wife as we’re expecting another baby coming this year.”
The Circuito de Getxo is a tough race over some undulating roads, and its greatest obstacle comes right at the very end, as the peloton tackles the Txomintxu, a one-kilometre climb to the finish line.
It was here that the Selle Italia-supplied rider delivered an exhibition of finishing, as his searing acceleration burnt off the challenge of Danilo Di Luca (Acqua & Sapone), while his Movistar teammate Enrique Sanz came home in 3rd place.
“It was important to be in a good position for the bend with 800 metres from the finish, because you could lose your momentum there,” Visconti said. “After that, I had the courage to launch my sprint with 250 metres still to go. I didn’t know the climb and it was really hard, it seemed like there was no end to it. But when I started sprinting, I saw that I gained a few metres on the others, and I knew that I could hold on.”
It was Visconti’s second win of the season after the Klasika Primavera Amorebieta and he will be hoping for further success in the Basque Country at the forthcoming Clasica San Sebastian. Of course, between now and the end of the season, there are a lot of races on the horizon for Visconti: “After leaving the Giro, I had a long break for the first time in my career, so now I hope to stay strong until the Tour of Lombardy.”