‘Cipo’ a crowd favorite in Miami’s Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia

Five US Giro Gran Fondos scheduled for 2013

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

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Miami was the stage for the final Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia of 2012. A trio of iconic Italian cyclists led the 1,000-strong field along the roads of southern Florida on a beautiful November day. 2002 World Champion Mario Cipollini, 2007 Giro d’Italia winner Danilo Di Luca and 2006 Milan-San Remo victor Filippo Pozzato energized the crowd lined up on Coral Gables fabled Miracle Mile for the traditional mass start.

‘Cipo’ admitted to the crowd that he had probably partied a bit too much in South Beach prior to the event, but he graciously lent his time for photos and words of encouragement. Di Luca told Cyclingnews that he had enjoyed the weather and the roads of the Miami region and that his primary goal in 2013 was to become a two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia.

Pippo Pozzato acknowledged that his well-respected sprint was on a bit of hiatus in the month of November and that it was time to be getting in base mileage. Commenting on his second place to Tom Boonen in this year’s Tour of Flanders, he remarked that being in the three-up breakaway at the finish was OK, but winning is all that matters.

Also on the starting line was Formula 1 driver Jarno Trulli who is a neighbor of Di Luca’s in Pescara and also has a residence in South Beach. He had intended to ride the 60-mile route, but missed the turn and ended up completing the 100-mile course and doing so in the lead group which finished in just over four hours.

At Trulli’s side was Bruno Junqueira, the former Indy Car driver from Brasil who is currently driving the American Le Mans series. Those race car drivers are fit!

Giro d’Italia race director, Michele Acquarone, was on hand to encourage the riders. He spoke to Cyclingnews about the possibility of a breakaway cycling league in Europe.

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The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia series is planning five events for 2013, the Sea Otter Classic in April, New York in May, Pasadena in June, Beverly Hills in October and Miami in November.