Astana manager Giuseppe Martinelli: "I will be able to guide Roman"
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Astana manager Giuseppe Martinelli: "I will be able to guide Roman"

by Jered Gruber at 10:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Experienced Italian could be a major help for young Roman Kreuziger's bid for a Giro podium

Team Astana will start the upcoming Giro d'Italia with a wild card possibility in impressive Czech talent, Roman Kreuziger. The rider, who moved from the big name laden roster of Liquigas to the Kazakh team has recently shown that he is in strong form and will likely be a name to watch when the vaunted stars such as Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, and Denis Menchov square off in the mountains of Italy over the next three weeks.

Kreuziger will have his own abilities, a strong team, and experienced Italian manager, Giuseppe Martinelli, to help him in his quest for a spot on the podium in Milano on May 29th.

Martinelli, himself a three-time Giro stage winner, and later the director over three separate Giro d'Italia wins: two from tough Italian Gilberto Simoni and one from Italian fallen hero, Marco Pantani. Suffice to say, Martinelli knows a little bit about his country's national tour.

"From my point of view, there are two key stages in this Giro. First, is the stage of the Monte Zoncolan (Stage 14); last year, we saw that the order of arrival on this stage corresponded approximately for the final standings of the race. Also, the stage that finishes at the Val di Fassa (Stage 15), will be an important one. It will be very hard with the five climbs and a finish that I know very well from my career as a professional. If our riders can handle this finish well, it can really make a difference."

Martinelli made sure that his star rider took in three critical stages: Etna, Zoncolan, and Gardeccia. He also made sure that two of Kreuziger's chief support riders were able to see what could be one of the more important penultimate climbs in a stage in recent years, the Monte Crostis.

"With Roman, we rode Etna (Stage 9), the Monte Zoncolan (Stage 14), and Gardeccia (Stage 15). Also, with Gorazd Stangelj, Paolo Tiralongo, and Roman, we previewed the Monte Crostis."

With so much climbing in this year's Giro, that still means that there are a lot of climbs that Kreuziger and his Astana teammates didn't get a chance to see. Martinelli is confident that his intimate knowledge with the route will be more than enough though.

"We're lucky beyond those stages, because I am very familiar with the route of the Giro this year, and I know all the other climbs of the stages we haven't recognized in advance. I will be able to guide Roman on those climbs."

Martinelli, however, cautions about looking too far ahead - this Giro won't be purely one for the final week.

"The third week will be very hard indeed, but from the beginning there will be important stages such as the one that finishes in Montevergine (Stage 7). Riders must also be very vigilant in the first week, but obviously, it's really during the third week that the classification will be decided."


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