Stage 19, 1997 Giro d'Italia. Predazzo to Falzes, 222 km
At 60 km, the first attack comes and twenty riders escape. On the descent of the passo del Pinei Alberati, there are only 12 in front. After gathering mountain points at Campolongo and the climbs of passo Furcia, Chechu Rubiera attacks. Only his team-mate, Gonzalez Pico stays with him before also falling back. Rubiera continues alone.
At the climb of Valico di Riomolino, Chechu is at 2'22". And after 150km of breakaway, 25km solo, he reaches the finish alone and with his arms up. He wins by more than three minutes.
He says, "I felt good and I wanted to stay away. At first I worked to secure the Green Jersey of best climber for "Chepe" Gonzalez. Hopefully this will open the door to a Tour de France ride for our team. We are still waiting to hear if there is a place for us." Kelme did receive a wildcard invitation to the Tour in 1997, Chechu wasn't named in the team.
Chechu told us, "After this victory, I started to have more confidence in myself as well as a better contract. Some people started to know about me. Before this victory, just my family and my dog knew me! And I realised that I could do well in the big tours. It was the most important victory in my career . . . I didn't get many!"
In 2000, Chechu won a second stage - stage 13 - at the Giro, outsprinting Gilberto Simoni on the final bend into Selva Val Gardena in the Italian Dolomites.