Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) turned his season and life around after a dark period that saw him suspended for Michele Ferrari dealings. The Sicilian followed up his Galibier win three days ago with another one in Vicenza today.
Asked about the Ferrari period in a post-stage press conference, he fired back with the same grit that helped earn his victory hours earlier.
“You’re so smart and young, and you ask a question about the past?” he said. “I think when you make an error, you pay, you close the chapter and you speak of another. I think that question is out of place.”
The question referred to a dark period of Visconti’s life. Italian authorities suspended him in December for three months and fined him €11,000 for working with Ferrari. He is part of a group of Italians – including Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) – who worked with the banned doping doctor and received suspensions.
The bans, however, were mostly a slap on the wrist as they were back-dated and during the winter/off-season period.
Visconti, however, suffered depression at the same time and went through a life-change. His win on Galibier was a sort of salvation. He said that the Vicenza win today was the first of his new career.
He answered several other questions about his stage win and this Giro d’Italia, but the Ferrari one stuck in his mind. After the press conference ended seven minutes later, he added to his previous response.
“Wait, I wanted to apologise for how I responded,” he said after journalists had already stood to leave. “I was so happy and it hurt to hear a question like that, but it’s clear that someone would want to know. Everyone in life makes mistakes, but for me the chapter is closed.”
“What did I learn? If I look back, I see that you have to trust your own means and have faith in yourself without looking elsewhere.”
Visconti is back racing in the Giro this year with Pozzato and Scarponi. Scarponi sits fourth overall and is a threat to knock Rigoberto Urán (Sky) from third overall.
With his win today, Visconti has helped Spain’s Movistar team conquer four stages. Alex Dowsett got the ball rolling with a time trial win in Saltara ahead of Bradley Wiggins (Sky).
Visconti, a three-time Italian champion, escaped solo on the Col du Télégraphe to win under snowfall on Galibier’s slopes. His win today was just as stylish, attacking on the final Cosara climb and riding solo in the final 16 kilometres.
Visconti wins stage 17 of the 2013 Giro