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TURGUTREIS, Turkey (VN) — Andrea Di Corrado (Colnago-CSF Inox) might have a hard time getting home on his return to Italy, but his victory out of a breakaway in Thursday’s fifth stage of the Tour of Turkey will take the sting out of what awaits.
Di Corrado was in such a hurry to catch his flight for the Tour of Turkey that he lost his keys, but the neo-pro could not care less after his first pro win.
“I think the keys must be inside the car, but I can worry about that later. I am so happy now,” Di Corrado said with a laugh. “In everyday life, I am a bit of a mess, but on the bike, I am very concentrated.”
Di Corrado outsmarted a six-man breakaway, counter-attacking two more experienced riders with about nine kilometers to go in the hilly, 177km run along the rugged Turkish coastline.
The young rider from Bergamo cleared an unrated climb with 2km to go and powered home for the win that could see him punching his ticket for the Giro d’Italia.
“I hope this victory earns me a spot on the Giro squad,” he said. “I am very happy. I was trying to save my legs for an attack over the last climb. I studied the road book this morning and I knew that would be important.”
The 23-year-old rode as a stagiaire last year with UnitedHealthcare before joining Colnago-CSF Inox for the 2012 season.
Di Corrado is the latest product to come out of the Italian Pro Continental team, which is a talent factory tapping into some of Italy’s most promising young pros. Bike-building legend Ernesto Colnago largely bankrolls the squad while team manager Robert Reverberi mines the Italian U23 ranks, looking for riders to bring into the fold.
Two years ago, the team won a huge stage victory with Manuel Belletti at the Giro. In 2011, a Giro stage win escaped the team, but it still managed to notch consistently big results for its small budget.
“We are a small team, with young riders,” Di Corrado said. “We are all very close and work together well. This victory brings tremendous satisfaction. I dedicate it to everyone on Colnago, who helped me to realize my dream to become a professional.”
Di Corrado is among several new faces for 2012. Belletti joined the ProTeam ranks with Ag2r La Mondiale this year, while Federic Canuto went to Liquigas-Cannondale and Simone Stortoni to Lampre-ISD.
Domenico Pozzovivo is the most experienced of the current crop of riders and delivered the team’s most important result ever with the overall victory at the Giro del Trentino earlier this month after winning the decisive climbing stage to Punta Veleno.
Sacha Modolo is the team’s top sprinting hope. He enjoyed a breakthrough season last year, winning 10 races in the second half of 2011, including Coppa Agostoni, two stages at the Tour of Denmark and second to Mark Cavendish at the test event on the London Olympic Games road race circuit.
Those two riders will lead the team’s hopes during the Giro.
“We will have Pozzovivo for the GC and Modolo for the sprints,” Di Corrado said. “I hope to be able to go. I am from Bergamo and the rider I most admire is Marco Pinotti, who is also from there. I would like to model myself after him. I am strong and I can go well in all terrain. For the rest of us at the Giro, we can go into breakaways and try to win a stage.”
Now if only he can find his car keys.