Trek-Segafredo racer Guilio Ciccone’s well-known victory gesture of throwing his Koo sunglasses into the crowds was back on display at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana on Thursday at the Alto de Pinos, and the Italian says he has no intention of changing his way of celebrating his wins in the future, either.
Ciccone’s previous opportunity to ‘gift’ an unsuspecting, but presumably delighted, spectator with some high-end eyewear came when he triumphed on stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia last year, and then as now he seized the opportunity with both hands (or more strictly speaking one hand) and a now-practised fling into the air.
Ciccone has, apparently, made this victory gesture three times previously in his career, including his two most recent Giro stage wins, in 2022 and previously in 2019. But even if prior to the latest conscious uncoupling between himself and his eyewear, the Italian looked back several times before he reached the summit finish line, when he came to actually ditching the glasses, he threw them away as emphatically as ever.
“And I hope I will be throwing away a lot more this year,” Ciccone joked to Cyclingnews prior to his successful defence of his leader’s jersey on stage 3 of the Volta Valenciana.
“But we have a good sponsor [Italian eyewear company Koo], I also have many pairs, so this is not a problem. When I did the first time in Ponte di Legno [in the Giro], it was spontaneous. But then I did again, and now it’s like it’s my sign.”
Pointing at the team jersey in the last metres of a race is now almost de rigeur when it comes to victories, but offbeat trademark victory gestures like Ciccone’s or Alberto Contador’s ‘smoking gun’ of el pistolero, as the Spaniard (who happens to be one of Ciccone’s idols) was known, are perhaps regrettably few and far between in the cycling peloton these days.
However, Ciccone definitely favours them, and he argued that they “are good for the fans. When you win, you can do what you want, and that’s good, too.”
When it comes to another memento of his summit stage win in Valenciana, the GC leader’s jersey, Ciccone is far less inclined to lose sight of that, as he showed with a spirited defence of the top place overall on Friday’s hilly stage 3 through the centre of the region.
Despite Trek-Segafredo having just five riders in their Valenciana line-up, Ciccone was never far from the front on the two main climbs of the day, and after UAE and Bahrain Victorious worked hard to try and pull back the break of the day, Ciccone concluded the stage safely in the front group.
“It was a very nervous day. The start was very fast, with a lot of attacks. I was a bit unlucky because my front wheel punctured in the last ten kilometres, and for a while, I was nervous about whether to stop or not to get it changed because it quickly lost a lot of pressure.”
“I was nervous, but I was fortunate enough, though, to finish with the front group, and I managed to get through the last few corners OK.”
One day down, but there’s plenty more to come for Ciccone. Saturday’s 3,500 metres of vertical climbing was probably the hardest of the entire race, he recognised, particularly with so many riders still being so close on GC.
“Anything could happen,” he concluded before warning, “But I’m in good form, and I don’t want to think just about going on the defensive.” And if another pair of sunglasses end up amongst the crowd as a result, then presumably, so much the better.