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“My mentality has changed completely. It is now what it was before, and how it should be: your head can make you ride badly, but it can also revive you," Visconti says

Photo: Sirotti

GIOVANNI VISCONTI

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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22.05.2013 @ 20:43 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Giovanni Visconti fought for years to win a stage in the Giro and finally he got that elusive victory on the top of Galibier on Sunday. Today he stroke again, taking a formidable solo win in Vicenza, and the former Italian champions says that his sudden run of success can be written down to a changed mentality.

 

Movistar is simply unstoppable in this year's Giro. After a second place in the team time trial, Benat Intxausti took over the maglia rosa in stage 7 and while he lost it the next day in the Saltara time trial, teammate Alex Dowsett made up for the loss by taking the team's first stage win.

 

After a number of quiet stages, the team has struck back in recent days. Giovanni Visconti won on the Col du Galibier on Sunday and after a rest day Benat Intxausti won yesterday's stage to Ivrea. Today Visconti made it three in a row by soloing off to another win in Vicenza.

 

The former Italian attacked on the day's final climb and caught the duo of Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni) and Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini). The latter fell off immediately while the former had to  give up a few moments later. From then on Visconti managed to hold off the peloton for more than 15km in a fantastic solo effort.

 

Actually, today's stage had been one of Visconti's pre-race targets.

 

“Before the Galibier stage, I had earmarked the Ivrea and Vicenza stages," he said. "At Ivrea, I finished close to the GC riders, even though I was tired after the Galibier. So I thought of today. The team was thinking of Ventoso and me. I decided to try my luck on the climb, and leave the sprint to Ventoso. I saw Di Luca and Rubiano ahead. I caught them, and dropped them on the climb. I dropped Rubiano because he is fast in the sprint. Then I just gave it full gas on the descent and flat.”

 

Filippo Pozzato had also earmarked today's stage and so the Lampre team took control of the peloton on the ascent. GC riders Michele Scarponi and Przemyslaw Niemiec worked to drop the sprinters but the pace was not fast enough to prevent Visconti from escaping.

 

"We knew it was a good stage for Ventoso or myself, but I found good legs into the climb and my heart screamed for giving it a shot," he explained. "I saw Lampre not pushing with everything they had so Pozzato could stay in the bunch, and I saw a chance for me. I waited until the last two kilometers, because I knew that the climb was less steep from that point, and went to catch Rubiano and Di Luca. If it went wrong, I still had time to help Fran in the sprint. But I was going really, really strong on the flats, and with 5k remaining, I felt the win was mine."

 

When I saw the neutral service car behind me, I knew I’d won it," he said. "The cheering of the crowds made the hairs stands on the back of my neck. On the final corner, with 200m to go, everything around me was like a dream - beautiful. In the final 50m, I was already thinking of the photograph in tomorrow’s papers, the photo I’ll put on the wall at home. What more could I ask for?”

 

"My face when crossing the finish line reflected how I feel. Today's victory is dedicated to my cousin, Ciro, who was at the finish today and is going through a hard time at the moment. Also to my family and this team, a great group with whom I'm having a great Giro."

 

Visconti has endured a hard time after leaving his former team which is now known as Vini Fantini, and he was overjoyed on Sunday when he suddenly felt that he had found the real Visconti again. Today he explained that the difference between success and defeat is often more of a mental thing than a question of physical strength.

 

“My mentality has changed completely," he said. "It is now what it was before, and how it should be: your head can make you ride badly, but it can also revive you. The stimulus of the win on the Galibier and the congratulations I received, were deeply touching. I felt fearless today. I rode 13 km without panicking. The kilometres flowed past by one after the other and it was wonderful. I can’t describe it. The crowds shouting my name. Today was special for me.”

 

"This is the proof that mental is everything. The support of the team, the strength of my mind, the willingness to show I was back to the level I once had... To be honest, the Galibier resurrected me. It served to find myself again, to find the confidence I thought I had lost for all and be able to play my chances in the races. If someone had told me some days before I would be attacking on such a climb, I wouldn't have believed them, but as I said, mental power changes everything. It was already a dream to win a stage in the Giro and I took two of them in just three days."

 

The run of success for Movistar could very well come to a temporary end in tomorrow's first of three days in the Dolomites. The mountain time trial to Polsa will be difficult to win for the Spanish team even though their GC rider Benat Intxausti is expected to perform strongly.

 

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