Vini Fantini-Selle Italia offering Giro d’Italia swan song to Garzelli and Di Luca
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Vini Fantini-Selle Italia offering Giro d’Italia swan song to Garzelli and Di Luca

by Ben Atkins at 10:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Two former race winners to support the ambitions of aggressive young team

danilo di lucaVini Fantini-Selle Italia has historically been more associated with the performances of its ambitious youngsters at the Giro d’Italia, but the headline for the ‘giallo-fluo’ team at this year’s race is all about the swam song it will give two veteran former race winners. Stefano Garzelli won the Corsa Rosa in 2000, and joined the team this year, after the collapse of his Acqua e Sapone squad, with the express intention of returning to the Corsa Rosa one last time; 2007 winner Danilo Di Luca (pictured) - who was also at Acqua e Sapone last year - recently came out of retirement to ride the race again.

The team’s younger riders will not be forced to work for the two veterans, however, according to the team, but Garzelli and Di Luca will lend their combined years of experince to their teammates.

37-year-old Di Luca rode his first races of the season this weekend, finishing tenth in the GP Industria & Artigianato Larciano - won by teammate Mauro Santambrogio - and sixth in the Giro della Toscana, and is declared ready for the Giro by team manager Luca Scinto.

"The physical condition that has shown in these first two races is incredible,” Scinto said, “which means that he has trained as a true professional and he still has much to give. I expect he'll work as a team man, supporting young cyclists and trying one of his actions to give us a great success.”

39-year-old meanwhile, has been solid but unspectacular so far this season, but the veteran climber, who has a career total of eight stage victories and two mountains jerseys, in addition to his 2000 overall win is still expected to play a big part this time.

"The winner of one Giro d'Italia that wants to close his career here,” explained Scinto. “He has won a lot of stages and jerseys, he has experience, is still very strong and competitive. From him we expect two things: that he is on the side of his younger teammates to teach them how them must confront a race like Giro d'Italia, and that he tries for a victory during the third week.”

matteo rabottiniThe team - under its previous name Farnese Vini-Selle Italia -won a stage in the 2011 Giro through Oscar Gatto - who managed to hold off a charging Alberto Contador over the final climb to the finish in Tropea - and in 2012 through Matteo Rabottini - in a heroic solo break in the rain to the Pian di Resinelli (pictured) - and Andrea Guardini - who won a bunch sprint over then World champion Mark Cavendish.

Guardini has moved to ProTeam Astana, but expectations will be high on Gatto - who won last month’s Dwars door Vlaanderen - and Rabottini to show that form and more this time.

“In Giro [Gatto] took his most important success, but last year arrived exhausted,” said Scinto. “This year I expect a lot from him, because this is the year of his consecration and maturity, and the route of the 2013 Giro offers many opportunities for a rider with his qualities.

“[Rabottini] must confirm himself, attacking and trying,” Scinto continued. “As an athlete he has matured a lot after his victory at Pian dei Resinelli. At Giro d'Italia, in two years, he has done some great performances, I trust him and in his heart as a attacker.”

In addition to his two former stage winners, Scinto is expecting a lot of the team’s 2013 signing Santambrogio who - after his ninth place overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, second at the Giro del Trentino, and GP Industria & Artigianato Larciano victory - has been the team’s strongest rider this season.

“He is a very strong athlete who has amazed me and I'm working very well with him,” said Scinto. “At the Giro I want a victory from him, but I also like to look a little to the overall classification. This guy has an incredible untapped potential and nobody knows where he could arrive.”

As well as the experience of its former race winners, and its developing young stars, the giallo fluo team will also have veteran Francesco Chicchi in the sprints, with the 30-year-old relishing the step down to ProConti level after spending his entire career at first division teams.

Vini Fantini team for the Giro d’Italia
Rafael Andriato, Francesco Chicchi, Danilo Di Luca, Stefano Garzelli, Oscar Gatto, Alessandro Proni, Matteo Rabottini, Mauro Santambrogio, Fabio Taborre


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