Svorada and Lampre Patrons, Pantani “Good Sensations”
– Reported by Gazzetta dello Sport –
Today was the day for Lampre and, obviously, Marco Pantani. This is how the “Coppi & Bartali” was started, the race which signals the return of Italian climber after serving a six month suspension. One semi-stage in the morning, from Riccione to Riccione for 84 km, and a team time trial of 8.2 km on the oceanside of Rimini in the afternoon. At the finish of both stages one could find Beppe Saronni smiling, the team manager of Lampre was pleased with two wins out of two: the first a sprint taken by the aging sprinter Jan Svorada and a victory in the team time trial. Svorada beat teammate Loddo and Ivan Quaranta from Saeco in the morning while the entire team put 10 seconds into Saeco and 14 seconds into Landbouwkrediet during the afternoon test. Svorada, obviously, wears the leader’s jersey.
Those are the results, but the other attraction for the Italian tifosi was above all Marco Pantani, reborn in the pro peloton. Il Pirata raced well: in the morning he stayed always in the front of the group and showed good form (finishing 22nd on the stage); in the afternoon he finished along side his teammates in fifth position, 15″ behind the winners. It was a pleasant re-entry for the rider from Romagnolo.
“At the start line – Pantani recounts – I was very tense. In the semi-stage I stayed always in the front because the road was always narrow and I didn’t want to risk a fall. How did it go? I had good sensations”.