Lampre-ISD building up to defend Scarponi’s Giro d’Italia title
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Lampre-ISD building up to defend Scarponi’s Giro d’Italia title

by Ben Atkins at 12:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Spring Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège , Flèche Wallonne
Upcoming races will decide the Eagle of Filottrano’s support team for next month’s Corsa Rosa

michele scarponiUntil two months ago, Lampre-ISD’s Michele Scarponi was preparing to go one better than second place in May’s Giro d’Italia. Since the retrospective disqualification of Alberto Contador however, the Eagle of Filottrano will start the race as defending champion. The Lampre-ISD team will spend the next week deciding upon the eight riders that will support Scarponi in is quest for what will be a second victory, while teammate Damiano Cunego looks to bounce back from his crash disappointment in yesterday’s Amstel Gold Race.

Both Lampre-ISD captains were on form in yesterday’s races, with Cunego arriving at the foot of Amstel Gold’s Cauberg finish with the lead group, and Scarponi featuring in the decisive break of the Giro dell’Apennino.

Cunego’s incident was a strange one, as he collided with Team Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug halfway up the Cauberg, just as the attacks were about to start, and they both came down.

"I haven’t had time to fully understand the dynamics of the crash, it all happened in an instant,” said Cunego. “I was very good, the team had supported me really well, and I arrived at the foot of the Cauberg in good position.

“I saw the move from Gilbert, but I felt that he had started too soon, so I waited a bit before trying to follow him,” he explained. “Maybe because of contact with another rider on my left, I swerved to the right and bumped into Nordhaug on that side, and I went down.

“I feel anger and sorrow thinking about what I could have got out of the race,” he added. “I can’t say for sure that I would have won, but I certainly would have been in the forefront to try to win success.”

Lampre-ISD general manager Giuseppe Saronni was equally frustrated by the incident, but reflects on the positive aspects, with Cunego displaying good form up until that point.

"The Amstel Gold Race has left a sour taste in my mouth, because Cunego was riding really well and was proving able to fight for a great result,” said the former World champion. “The crash has ruined everything, but these things can happen in a race; we must look forward to the upcoming events with confidence, based on the good impressions that Damiano and the team have made.

“Regarding Scarponi, he rode a good race, and was showing that his condition is growing and he’s riding well well. He rode really well on the [Passo della] Bocchetta; unfortunately he wasn’t able to follow up his good work with a result, but I’m happy with the form he showed.”

Despite coming into the year with the intention of focussing on the Tour de France - where his own ambitions might have clashed with those of Cunego - Scarponi has changed his plans, with a defence of his new Giro d’Italia title his next priority.

“After deep evaluations, after having weighed up all the options, and his own feelings, Michele expressed a desire to be at the Giro d’Italia 2012. The team received this decision with enthusiastic pleasure, and because of his strong conviction we have decided to support Scarponi’s decision.

“The upcoming week has become important in order to evaluate which riders would best support Michele in the Giro.”

After his Amstel disappointment, Cunego has travelled back to Italy to join Scarponi in the Giro del Trentino, with Oleksandr Kvachuk taking the Little Prince’s place in the Ardennes team for la Flèche Wallonne. Both Cunego and Scarponi will return to Belgium for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where Cunego still seeks to improve on his third place of 2006. Yuriy Krivtsov and Kvachuk will make way for the two team captains.

Lampre-ISD team for the Giro del Trentino
Matteo Bono, Damiano Cunego, Matthew Lloyd, Adriano Malori, Marco Marzano, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Morris Possoni and Michele Scarponi.

Lampre-ISD team for la Flèche Wallonne
Leonardo Bertagnolli, Yuriy Krivtsov, Oleksandr Kvachuk, Manuele Mori, Daniele Pietropolli, Alessandro Spezialetti, Simone Stortoni and Diego Ulissi.

Lampre-ISD team for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Leonardo Bertagnolli, Damiano Cunego, Manuele Mori, Daniele Pietropolli, Michele Scarponi, Alessandro Spezialetti, Simone Stortoni and Diego Ulissi.


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