Video: Savio says Jose Rujano is once again the rider who took third in the 2005 Giro d’Italia
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Video: Savio says Jose Rujano is once again the rider who took third in the 2005 Giro d’Italia

by Shane Stokes at 8:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Giro d'Italia, Video
Believes runner-up slot on Mount Etna shows he can fight for podium finish

Jose RujanoIt’s been a long time coming, but yesterday’s stage to Mount Etna closed a six year gap and finally saw Jose Rujano return to the form which he showed in taking third overall in the 2005 Giro d’Italia.

The Venezuelan was the surprise of that race, ending it just 45 seconds behind the winner Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel). He won the stage to Sestrière and also took the King of the Mountains and most combatitive awards. At 23 years of age, a big future was predicted but his career simply didn’t reach the same heights in the years after that.

Unable to focus and get fully into shape, he moved from team to team. A stint with Quick Step in 2006 was followed by similarly quiet one-season contracts with Unibet and Caisse d’Epargne in 2007 and 2008, then the small Venezuelan Gobernación del Zulia squad in 2009.

A move to ISD Neri saw him win the Tour de Langkawi in 2010, but the team was unexpectedly turned down for the Giro d’Italia. Androni Giocattoli manager Gianni Savio saw the chance to work with Rujano again and signed him up, bringing him back to the same race where he managed him successfully in 2005.

Rujano’s second place behind Alberto Contador yesterday on Mount Etna confirmed that he was back to his best. “It is a very, very good result. I am very happy for him and also for our team,” Savio told VeloNation in a video interview after the finish. “We brought Rujano to our team this year…he was podium with us in 2005, six years ago, and for us it is a very, very good satisfaction.

“I think that Jose Rujano is now the rider who was in the podium [then] and I think for him it is possible to make a very , very good Giro.”

Rujano showed his confidence yesterday when, despite strong winds on the final climb, he accelerated clear ten kilometres from the end. Alberto Contador bridged across to him, but Rujano stuck doggedly to his wheel and only lost contact a kilometre and a half from the finish. He crossed the line three seconds back, the runner up on the hardest stage thus far of the race. The next of the big guns came in 47 seconds later, this gap reflecting the difference Contador and Rujano had over the others.

Despite the showing, Rujano now sits 30th in the general classification. “The problems is that he lost six minutes in the stage of Orvieto,” said Savio, referring to the rider’s tough time on the strade bianche. “But in 2005, when he was in the podium, he lost five minutes due to a mechanical problem in the time trial.”

He believes then that it is possible he can chase the same target this time round. That’s based on his climbing form, the horrendously tough second half of the race, and also a bit of superstition on Savio’s part. “He finished eighth in 2005 in the Giro del Trentino…this year, the last race was the Giro del Trentino, and he was eighth. So we are hopeful,” he said, smiling.

As regards what has made the difference and enabled Rujano to get back to the form he showed before with the team, Savio suggested it was down to knowing the rider’s mentality. He feels that they know how to make him believe in himself. “He is well in our team and I think we are able to understand him,” he explained. “We know him very well. I am very optimistic for the future.”

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