Lugano, the first Swiss experience and the final touchstone of the pre-Giro campaign
72.º Gran Premio Città di Lugano
The Cittá di Lugano Grand Prix on Sunday 3 June will be the next competitive challenge for a Polartec-Kometa who will face the first competition on Swiss soil in its young history. The Madrid squad, which has been concentrated in the Italian city of Bormio since Tuesday 30 May, will be the only Spanish squad to attend the Swiss event in 2018. And he will do so with Italy’s Matteo Moschetti and Michele Gazzoli, Luxembourg’s Michel Ries, Austria’s Patrick Gamper, Colombia’s Wilson Peña and Spain’s Diego Pablo Sevilla and Juan Camacho.
A special test in a special setting. Lugano is a’gara’ created as such in 1981, although the passion for the sport of cycling that is experienced in this Italian-speaking area of the Swiss Confederation is manifested in some precedents, direct and indirect, which under other competitive formulas began to be organized in this town in the 1930s. A kind of cycling grand prize called the Bar Maxim Prize was already set in motion in this city in the Canton of Ticino in 1937, although it would not have organisational continuity until after the Second World War.
Even under its current formula, the event promoted by the centennial Lugano Velo Club will be held up to four times only for amateur riders (1997-2000). In between, in parallel, and beyond the ‘arcobalene’ experiences of the nearby Mendrisio, another example of the cycling passion that is lived here, Lugano has hosted two world road championships: in 1953, when Fausto Coppi won, and in 1996, with the success of the Belgian Johan Museeuw.
The Lugano Grand Prix is not a comfortable test. Its distance of 186.4 kilometres is misleading, as the eight laps the pack will have to face in a demanding 23.3 kilometre circuit will not be on flat ground at all. The ascent to the one known as Collina d’Oro and the Bora de Bessa slope in Gentilino will feed a final drop of more than 3,000 metres. Always important, in recent years the Italian dominance in the list of winners has been capital. In fact, the last seven editions have been won by transalpine riders. And curiously enough, Ivan Basso, the Polartec-Kometa team manager, who will accompany his pupils in the race, won this race in 2011.
Dario Andriotto, the sports director of the team, has also been part of the race in some editions. “It’s a very relevant career. Previously, it was organized on earlier dates, but regardless of the change it maintains its notoriety. For Polartec-Kometa it is especially important, as it is the last competition before the Giro d’Italia U23. There will be a very high level, as always when WorldTour teams come, and it will allow the boys to improve their form. We have riders to deal with any race circumstances that may arise, with a Matteo Moschetti who is in good shape after having prepared well for the Giro in case of volata, or a Michel Ries who comes from Aragón and L´Ain and can get into the breaks. I believe that the Polartec-Kometa will be the protagonist”.
“It’s going to be very difficult for a pure sprint to happen,” said Michele Gazzoli, who is returning to the competition and will be another of the team’s great assets. “The last of the walls is going to break the race and, at the most, will make it to a very small group”. “The experience is going to be very positive”, Juan Camacho from La Mancha says by this side, “after almost a month without competing, it will be a race that will be very good for me in preparation for the Spanish Championships. And the circuit looks really good. A World Cup circuit”. The speed of Moschetti and Gazzoli will be two trump cards for a Polartec-Kometa who, beyond hypothetical volates, does not want to miss the opportunity to be seen and be a protagonist in the development of the competition.
(automatic translations, sorry for mistakes)