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Zanoncello, a career-changing millimetre


First the disappointment, then the uncertainty, the rising doubt, and then the joy: Enrico Zanoncello has won the first stage of the Giro d’Abruzzo 2024 by the narrowest possible margin. Little does it matter if the Italian of VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè did not manage to raise his arms to the sky, because his name will remain in the annals of this race forever. Unfortunately, whenever one wins by a matter of millimetres, there is another who loses by the same length, and in this case that is Matteo Malucelli (JCL Team Ukyo), who will likely remember this sprint for quite a while.

The sprinters were fully aware that the 161 km Vasto-Pescara stage was probably the only solid chance for the fast wheels. This made the last 20 km extremely nervous, with ups and downs, attacks, counterattacks and lack of collaboration in the bunch. Eventually, Astana was the best team in leading out their man, Max Kanter, who opened up the sprint in a good position but was quickly overtaken by the two Italians and Manuel Peñalver who finished third.

Modern cycling is nothing short of merciless to pure sprinters, who every season have to fight race by race, inch by inch to secure a place in the team and a contract. Zanoncello knows this well, since turning pro in 2021 he has made a lot of apprenticeships, touring the world race after race trying to showcase his skills.

Last year alone, he competed in Argentina, UAE, Croatia, Taiwan, Slovenia, Bosnia, Greece, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, China, and Malaysia. It was a globetrotting season, but one that allowed him to get familiar with top rankings, as he managed to win a stage in Taiwan, one at Qinghai Lake and one at Taihu Lake, China. Today marks his first win in Europe and in Italy, with the hope that this success will propel him into a new dimension. “At 26 years old, I hope this win will convince my team to bring me to the Giro d’Italia”. A millimetre can truly change everything…

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