Stefano Garzelli again looks for Giro d'Italia success in 2010
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Garzelli looks for Giro success in 2010

by VeloNation Press at 3:59 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 

Italian Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) has been a staple in Italian cycling for more than a
decade. From his very first season in 1998 when he won the Tour de Suisse convincingly, to his Giro d'Italia crown in 2000 where he stepped out of Marco Pananti's shadow, Garzelli has remained competitive throughout his entire career.

Now, at 36 years of age, Garzelli told the Gazzetta dello Sport that the key to his success has been, "To start each year like it was your first."

He began his career on Mercatone Uno riding alongside Marco Pantani when he was at the prime of his career. The two will forever be linked, he says. Garzelli started with Mercatone Uno, and it was Pantani's failing form which allowed him to step up in the 2000 Giro. Then their final ride up the the Izoard together in 2003 is something that he said he will always remember. "I still get goose bumps every time I think of him," he said of his fallen compatriot.

Pantani's tragic death on Valentine's Day in 2004 was a perfect example of what was wrong in the sport of cycling. A cycling star dogged by doping accusations who suffered from depression and eventually turning to recreational drugs. The media pressure is what many believe brought the Italian to the breaking point and led to "Il Pirata's"undeserving end.

Six years later, the sport is in a better place. Cycling's sordid past has been acknowledged, and the International Cycling Union (UCI) has made a mission out of cleaning up the sport with their new biological passport system.

When asked if Pantani was his hero, the man from Varese said, "He was my captain. My hero was Miguel Indurain." One of Garzelli's most rewarding victories he said was the GP Miguel Indurain in 1999, where Indurain was on hand to acknowledge his win.

He's had a lot of success in his home Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia. Along with his overall win in 2000 he has had several stage victories, a second place overall with the Vini Caldirola team in 2003, and most recently winning the the King of the Mountains title last year.

Fresh off of a 10 day training camp with his Acqua & Sapone team, Garzelli said he will again look to success in the Italian race. He's targeting the stage 11 that finishes in L'Aquila, telling the paper, "It would be great [to win there]," explaining that the finish suits his skills after riding the last 60 kilometers adding, "at least when I'm in shape."

He said he will start his season at the Tour of the Mediterranean and also ride Tirreno-Adriatico. As for the future, he said he would like to stay in the sport, but not as a director sportif. With today's trend of an aging peloton, and the power remaining in his legs, Garzelli might not need to make that decision this time next year.

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