6º Giro della Toscana – Memorial Alfredo Martini
15th September: Giro della Toscana
16th September: Coppa Sabatini
It is the turn of the classics and semi-classics that take place during the months of September and October in Italy, an interesting cycle of one-day races that take place before and after the World Championships and that make up an interesting competitive moment in the European and international calendar. The EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team faces the final stretch of its season with renewed strength after a first year in the ProTeam category in which it has not stopped progressing and in which, always with the maximum dedication, great results have been arriving, without lacking the victories. A very interesting result of this first year is that both Alpecin-Fenix and EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team are the only structures of ProTeam category that have achieved victory in a big stage race, over three weeks.
The two races of the Giro della Toscana promoted by the Unione Ciclistica Pecciolese, under the formula of the Challenge, will be the first races of this cycle, for which the technical staff has called eleven riders. On Wednesday 15, in Pontedera, with the Giro della Toscana. The following day, Thursday 16, with the Coppa Sabatini in Peccioli. Two races with interesting routes and very demanding terrain.
Direct heir to the race that was born in 1913 and organised until 2014, the current Giro della Toscana was reborn in 2016 with renewed vigour. Starting and finishing in Pontedera, the race is held over 191.5 kilometres over two circuits: an initial route of 81.3 kilometres where the ascent to Lajatico is tackled twice and another final one of 55.4 kilometres, to which two laps must be completed and which, halfway through, features the ascent to Monte Serra. The Giro della Toscana will mark the start of Lorenzo Fortunato’s new competitive cycle. Francesco Gavazzi will once again be the road captain of a line-up completed by Briton Marc Christian, Hungarian Erik Fetter and Italians Davide Bais, Edward Ravasi and Luca Wackermann.
Starting and finishing in Peccioli, the Coppa Sabatini-Gran Premio Città di Peccioli will be contested over 210 kilometres. Three stages make up the total route, with the town in the province of Pisa at the centre of the race. A first 47.8-kilometre route with the Montefoscoli, Terricciola, Lajatico and Peccioli climbs to manage; another 25.2-kilometre route with Montefoscoli, Terricciola and Peccioli to complete five laps; and a final 12.2-kilometre loop, to be ridden twice, with the Peccioli climb. The last kilometre is downhill. Spanish rider Vicente Hernaiz will make his debut as a stagiaire in this race. Vincenzo Albanese, Mattia Frapporti and Samuele Rivi will also join the team. The four take over from Bais, Fetter, Fortunato and Ravasi. Gavazzi returns to a race in which he was already third in 2017.
“I feel great,” smiles Lorenzo Fortunato. “I’ve been almost four weeks working at altitude, in Livigno. I’ve worked very hard and in good conditions. I feel strong and I can’t wait to start racing again. I am looking forward to this moment of the season. I want to confirm that what I have done in the first part of the season has not been a coincidence. The Giro di Lombardia is on the horizon and I want to be stronger than ever in this race”.
Spanish rider Vicente Hernaiz, from Valladolid, Castilla y León, is absolutely thrilled. “It’s a very special moment. At the end of the day, it’s also one more step in the work to achieve the dream of becoming a professional rider. I’ve never had an opportunity like this and of course I want to live up to the expectations. I like to prepare the races thoroughly, to study them; if you want to be a professional cyclist you have to work like a professional. If I normally do it a day before, I won’t deny that now I did my homework more in advance. There are some roads that I had the opportunity to ride in this year’s Giro U23. I’m going with all the desire in the world, to do my best, to help my team-mates and to do everything they tell me to do. Hopefully, I’d be delighted to help Albanese in the final for a victory, to give him a hand so that he can face the finish in the best conditions. You can’t know how it will go, that’s the way competition is, but I’m really looking forward to it”.
Giro della Toscana: Pontedera – Pontedera (191.5 km).
Coppa Sabatini-Gran Premio Città di Peccioli: Peccioli – Peccioli (210 km).
[ Atila Madrona]