Visconti strikes back with Italian Championship title

Giovanni Visconti, Tour de Luxembourg 2010, stage one

Giovanni Visconti took an important second Italian championships title today in Conegliano, winning ahead of the favoured teams.

"It is amazing, with a team that lacks nothing against the others," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "All I had to do was raise my hands in the air."

ISD-Neri delivered the 27-year-old Sicilian to a solo win ahead of Ivan Santaromita (Liquigas) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing). Santaromita salvaged the day for Liquigas, who had aimed on the win for Vincenzo Nibali. He came off the Giro d'Italia in good form and had the race's winner, Ivan Basso working for him on the demanding 259-kilometre course just north of Treviso.

"There are two teams that can control the course: our team and Lampre," Basso said before the race. "The national jersey holds a special place in my heart and maybe even more so for Nibali."

The win was even more of a coup for ISD-Neri with Liquigas' desire to take the jersey so strong and having missed out on the Giro d'Italia. The second division team was overlook by the Giro d'Italia organisers this year, despite Visconti holding the pink leader's jersey for eight days in 2008.

"The win leaves me without words," continued Visconti. "It's a payback for all the sacrifices I've made during the year."

Earlier this year, Visconti won two stages and the overall at the Tour of Turkey. In the last month, he won a stage of the Tour of Luxembourg and finished second overall at the Tour of Slovenia behind Nibali.

His won the championships three years ago, in 2007, in Genoa and he finished second to Filippo Simeoni in 2008. Assured of today's win, he grabbed an Italian flag nearing the line and held it in the air.

"I wanted to repeat my win at all costs," he said with tears in his eyes. "It useless to say, but I am very happy."

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