Domenico Pozzovivo has been in the peloton since 2005 and still, at 40 years of age, continues to be one of Italy’s best hopes when it comes to Grand Tours overall ranking. No Pozzovivo no Giro, one might actually say: the Israel-PremierTech rider will be at the start of the Corsa Rosa this year for the 17th time in his career. He hasn’t missed a single Giro since 2010. Still, his history with this competition has not always been sunshine and rainbows: on his beloved Italian roads he has suffered some of his worst injuries, but on the other hand he has finished it in the Top 10 on seven occasions, building up his now highly respected status among Italian fans.
Yet, in 16 years of history and so many kilometres spent at the front of the peloton, Pozzovivo has only won one stage, namely at Lake Laceno in 2012. Domenico was racing with Colnago CSF (today’s Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and, although it was only stage 8 of that Giro, he was already almost two minutes behind the Maglia Rosa Ryder Hesjedal in the GC, time he had lost between the opening ITT and the following team time trial.
After the arrival in Rocca di Cambio the previous day, the first shake-ups in the general classification were expected to occur at Lake Laceno: Ivan Basso’s Liquigas took control of the situation from the first kilometres of the ascent, particularly thanks to the solid Polish rider Sylwester Szmyd, who slowly skimmed the peloton. However, at the toughest point of the climb, with gradients of 12%, just over two kilometres from the KOM, Pozzovivo went for it, cheered on by his many fans from nearby Basilicata. The peloton showed no reaction while Pozzovivo’s move was overwhelming. At the top of the climb, he had gained more than 25 seconds on the first chaser, the Basque Beñat Intxausti (Movistar), and 30 on the peloton. The last 4.5 kilometres on the false-flat were an endless struggle for Pozzovivo who, at 29 years of age, finally managed to take home the much sought-after Giro d’Italia stage victory.
Behind no one moved, despite the fact that the Maglia Rosa Hesjedal had shown some difficulty. A mistake that Ivan Basso, the late Michele Scarponi, and Joaquim Rodriguez would later pay for, because the underestimated Canadian would grow in the distance, surprisingly winning that Giro d’Italia.