Stefano Garzelli is going nowhere, says Acqua & Sapone boss
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stefano Garzelli is going nowhere, says Acqua & Sapone boss

by Ben Atkins at 8:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Team manager and rider’s agent/brother both deny Gazzetta reports that Giro mountain jersey winner is looking for other teams

stefano garzelliThe news that the Acqua & Sapone team was not invited to this year’s Giro d’Italia was a big surprise to many, but not least to its biggest rider Stefano Garzelli. The 38-year-old from Varese was hoping to crown his long career with one last appearance in the race that he won in 2000 and, while he has long acknowledged that a second overall victory is now beyond him, he would like to have aimed at a grand stage victory, or perhaps a third mountains jersey to add to those of last year and 2009.

The fact that his team has not been invited will take a good deal of the gloss from Garzelli’s final season, which has led to reports that he might be about to seek a ride elsewhere. This morning’s Gazzetta dello Sport reported that he is on the brink of signing a two-year contract with Saxo Bank – where he would be Giro captain in place of defending champion Alberto Contador – but this has been strenuously denied by Acqua & Sapone manager Lorenzo Masciarelli.

"Stefano Garzelli is our captain and will continue to be so again this year,” Masciarelli said, immediately after seeing the Gazzetta story. “We have not had any contact with other teams."

Garzelli, who recently finished a short training camp with the team in Francavilla a Mare, has returned home to prepare for Tirreno-Adriatico; the race he took overall in 2010, and the first big target for the season.

While Garzelli’s brother and agent Marco admitted to Tuttobiciweb.it that the rider had been in negotiations with Saxo Bank last year, it had eventually come to nothing and he had elected to remain with the team that he joined in 2007 for one more year.

"Stefano could have changed teams last year,” he explained, “but he had already made his choice last summer.

“The association with Acqua & Sapone – made strong by mutual respect and complimentary results like the green jersey at the last Giro d’Italia – is not in question."

Even if Garzelli was intending to jump ship in order to take in one final Corsa Rosa, he would be prevented from doing so by International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations. Having already inked a deal with the Abruzzo team, UCI rule 2.15.120a would prevent him from doing so until August.

The rule, which was updated last July states that: “A transfer period exists and applies to all changes of team, whether between two UCI ProTeams or a between a UCI ProTeam and a professional continental team.

“The transfer period for any change of team during the season extends from 1-15 August.”

Garzelli could, therefore, join Saxo Bank, but not until the late summer, by which time the Giro d’Italia would have long gone.

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