Acqua e Sapone - Caffé Mokambo had a good season in 2006, with new recruits Stefano Garzelli and a seemingly reformed VdB they have a new goal in 2007; a ride in the Giro d’Italia…….
Stefano Garzelli, the new team captain of Acqua e Sapone - Caffé Mokambo is hoping that the 2007 season will see him make the podium of the race he loves above any other , the Giro d’Italia. Team boss, Palmiro Masciarelli, who gained cycling fame as the gregario of Francesco Moser announced his squad which is some what of a family affair with three of his sons in the squad, Simone, Andrea and neo pro Francesco in Cecina.
Also present at the Hotel “La buca del Gatto” were former World Champion Freddy Maertens and the Italian Team Manager Franco Ballerini.
Garzelli and his son - Courtesy of Daily Peloton
Garzelli, now 33 years old, has left the Liquigas Team (who chose Di Luca over him as leader in last years Giro) to achieve his ambitions in the Pink Race with Acqua e Sapone, who have built their squad around him.
«I still feel young at heart and I have a team capable of supporting me in the Giro.To get on the podium, regardless of which step, would be a great result for me. But to win it? Well that is something we are not talking about but I feel sure that I can be a protagonist in this years race.».
Palmiro Masciarelli, can look back on 2006 with a great deal of satisfaction, his team achieved 9 victories, however two of the jewels in the crown Nocentini and Tonti have left the squad. Nocentini moving to AG2R and Tonti to Quickstep.
"They were two of our most important riders for 2006” confirms Masciarelli -. “However in 2007 our objectives are a little different, it is time we tried to race in the Giro d’Italia and the arrival of Stefano Garzelli shows how serious we are in this ambition. Stefano wanted riders capable of supporting him and the signing of proven riders like Andriotto and Codol gives us strength in depth. We are optimistic that we can prove our worth early on in the season and that the presence of Garzelli will ensure that we are invited to the corsa rosa”
VdB-Courtesy of Daily Peloton
Unlike many previous Team managers Masciarelli is having no problems with Frank Vandenbroucke.
"We are well aware that Vandenbroucke arrives with a bad reputation, but you can only speak as you find. So far he is doing very well. Always knowledgable and respectful he has bonded well with the team, particularly with my son Simone. I believe that, without the tendon problems he had to the end of last season he could have done something for us already. Of course he is a rider for the Classics but he has already expressed an interest in starting the Giro d’Italia.”
How does Palmiro see next season for his three sons? «The youngest, Francesco, will not make his debut until June or July before that he will continue to ride for the U23 squad. The eldest son, Simone, who is a one day racer has had some problems over the last two years but these seem all sorted now thanks to a Professor from Perugia. The end of last season was very positive for him and we are hopeful for the future. Andrea,is more of a stage racer , thanks, in part, to his good ability against the clock".
The French Espoirs Champion , Aurélien Passeron, who rde as an amateur for AVC Aixois, moves up fron the Acqua & Sapone Espoirs for the 2007 season.
A punchy rider he is also a good all rounder finishing second in the French Cross county championships and also 7th in the French Espoirs Time Trial Championship.
Masciarelli also points out some other riders he feels may make an impression in 2007
« Francesco Di Paolo, is another youngster with potential, in 2006 he was one of the best riders with Aran Cucine Cantina Tollo. I also have high hopes for Samoilau, and Giuseppe Muraglia, who joins us from Team LPR, I think can do very well.».
But will there be problems with so many team changes ?
«It’s true that could be a problem. But I am confident that we can bond together as a team, thanks to the contribution and support of riders like Palumbo, Rossi and Donati. These are the men who work hard for the team at the start of the race and are indispensable to the team effort ».
The Technical staff, however remain unchanged
"Perfection does not exist, but I can sure that Gini and Cenghialta are close to it. In terms of motivating the riders and getting the best from them Bruno is a master and these three will once again be supported by Lorenzo Di Lorenzo».
Francesco Di Paolo
- Courtesy of Daily Peloton