Simoni signs with Lampre-Farnese Vini, will ride the Giro d'Italia
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Simoni signs with Lampre-Farnese Vini, will ride the Giro d'Italia

by VeloNation Press at 10:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia

Gilberto Simoni has signed with the Lampre-Farnese Vini team to take part in what will be his final Giro d'Italia.  The Italian won the race two times, in 2001 and 2003, with a total of seven podium finishes.  Last October VeloNation reported that Lampre boss Giuseppe Saronni was looking to bring the 38 year old on board for what would be his final season.

"It's tempting," Saronni said to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport at the time. "Gibo doesn't have the level to win the Giro, but he is still a very solid rider." Simoni declared a return to the team as "interesting."

Today the move was confirmed: "I have signed with Lampre to ride the Giro for the last time, it's my race to ride," said Simoni to DeMorgan. "That is why I have continued to train in recent months. I have already had two years of out of competition doping tests. I'm ready."

This means that Simoni will once again ride alongside Damiano Cunego, a relationship that had soured years ago on the roads of Italy.  In 2004, a 22 year old Cunego won the Giro d'Italia with ease while riding on the Saeco team with Simoni.  Simoni, who was the defending champion that year, was embarrassed by Cunego on several occasions with attacks, and ended up finishing the race in third place, three seconds behind Serhiy Honchar.

Simoni was highly upset with the outcome, but the two fulfilled their respective Saeco contracts, riding together in 2005 for the Saeco - Lampre merger, Lampre-Caffita. Simoni then joined Saunier-Duval before moving to Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni in 2008.

Simoni and Cunego reportedly put their differences aside last winter at a charity event in Milano.


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