Farnese Vini general manager rules out Cipollini return
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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Farnese Vini general manager rules out Cipollini return

by VeloNation Press at 6:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“I respect him, but this must be a joke”

Mario CipollinWith the UCI already stating that Mario Cipollini’s talk of returning to the peloton in this year’s Giro d’Italia is not realistic due to his not being part of the testing pool, the general manager of the Farnese Vini team has also poured cold water on the idea.

Cipollini has a relationship with the squad, supplying his own-name brand of bikes to the Italian Pro Continental outfit, but that doesn’t prevent Luca Scinto from speaking frankly about the issue.

“The news about Cipollini's comeback came as a bolt from the blue sky for me,” he said, according to Sporza. “I know nothing about it and I think it's nothing."

“As long as I am the boss of the team, this will not be the case. I respect Cipollini, but this must be a joke. Mario was one of the icons of our sport, but his time is over. He must realize this.”

Given that the UCI knows nothing of the plans, other than what La Gazzetta dello Sport announced on Tuesday, it points to the likelihood that the story was generated by the rider in order to give him publicity. Scinto seems to think this is the case.

And while six months in the testing pool would enable Cipollini to be ready in the UCI’s eyes to come back later this year, the team manager doesn’t think much of the stated intent to help the promising young sprinter Andrea Guardini to beat Mark Cavendish and others.

“If his intent was to get some publicity for his bike, he succeeded,” he said. “But our team has no need of Mario, especially not Guardini. Andrea is a promising boy, best left to grow quietly and without distraction.”

Guardini has just returned from the Tour de Langkawi, where he broke both the record for stage wins in a single edition of the race, and also the career mark for such victories. He clocked up six wins this year and has extended his haul to eleven.

Cipollini will turn 45 on March 22nd. During the course of a seventeen year pro career, he won the world road race championship plus almost 200 pro races.

Those victories include 42 stages in the Giro d’Italia, twelve in the Tour de France and three in the Vuelta a Espana, as well as three editions of Gent Wevelgem, one of Milan-Samremo and the Italian road race championships.

“My engine is still intact,” he told La Gazzetta in its Tuesday edition. “Science can benefit from it. What happens to the body of an athlete after his career? How would it react to a comeback at the highest level? Look, I'm 45 but do not feel old. I train a lot, both with pros and amateurs.”

He said that he believed a pairing between himself and Guardini would be strong enough for the latter to beat the current world champion Cavendish.

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