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91st Giro d'Italia - Team LPR Brakes Preview
By Bart Hazen
Date: 5/9/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Team LPR Brakes Preview

2008 Giro d'Italia - Team LPR-Brakes Preview
The Killer returns with a new team to defend his Giro championship... A team with all the 'right stuff' that can boast two double Giro Champions.

Team LPR - Brakes will make it’s debut in a Grand Tour with high ambitions as they have the 2007 Giro winner Danilo di Luca in the team. Di Luca will try to defend his title; but we are still in doubt if he is in Grand Tour form having started his season late. The co-captain of the team is another twice Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli. Both Di Luca and Savoldelli will be supported by a strong team of young talents and experienced riders.

Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Salvodelli co-captains at the LPR presentation.
Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Danilo di Luca will be the leader of Team LPR-Brakes. Di Luca signed with LPR leaving Liquigas after he received a suspension of three months due to his contact with doping doctor Carlo Santuccione. Next to the Giro win (and two stage wins) in 2007 he also won Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Further he won stages in the Giro and Vuelta and was also the best in the classics like Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and the Giro di Lombardia. 2005 and 2007 were definitely his best years.

Danilo Di Luca on the podium of the 2007 edition of the Giro d'Italia, can he stand again on the podium in 2008?  Photo c. Fabio

Di Luca has competed in all the three the Grand Tours; but never finished the Tour de France then this is no surprise as the rider was first known for his ability to win one day races and the classics. He rode for teams as Cantina Tollo, Saeco, and Liquigas in the past. Di Luca started his 2008 season late in mid February; his results this year are his overall win in the Settimana Lombarda and a second place in the Giro D’Oro behind team mate Gabriele Bosisio.

Giro d Grosetto 2008: Paolo Savoldelli in the grey and green sharks kit of Team LPR.  Photo © Karen Lambrecht

The co-captain of the team will be double Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli. The falcon won the Giro in 2002 and 2005. Savoldelli joined LPR after leaving Astana due to the doping cases surrounding the team. The best descender in the peloton has won two stages in the Tour de France in 2005 (TTT with Discovery and the 17th stage). He also won among others the Tour de Romandie, The Giro del Trentino and lots of other races in his career. The past two years he had a patent on winning the same races. Both in 2006 and 2007 he won the prologue in Romandie and a stage in the Giro. In 2008 il Falco's best result was a second place in the Settimana Lombarda behind team leader Di Luca. In the coming Giro we will see the falcon for sure as one of the lieutenants of Di Luca in the mountains, but Savoldelli will also have ambitions to win a stage himself as well.

Team LPR presented in Palermo. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

LPR Brakes
Giro d'Italia Squad

• Paolo Bailetti
• Gabriele Bosisio
• Riccardo Chiarini
• Danilo di Luca
• Giairo Ermeti
• Jure Golcer
• Daniele Pietropolli
• Paolo Savoldelli
• Alessandro Spezialetti

Di Luca and Savoldelli at the 2008 team presentation. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Two other riders to watch for are Gabriele Bosisio and Daniele Pietropolli. Gabriele Bosisio is a 27 year old rider who has a good sprint and is a decent climber. He turned pro in 2004 with Tenax and rode for that team before Tenax merged with LPR in 2008. His most important wins are the Giro del Lazio, the Test race in Beijing for the Olympic Games and the Giro D’Oro earlier this season. Bosisio will be from great value for the team in the mountains.

Daniele Pietropolli turned pro in 2003 with Tenax after he rode as stagiair for Fassa Bortolo in 2001. Pietropolli has competed twice in the Giro already for Tenax before the introduction of the ProTour and the Giro was still part of that. He opened his professional victory account in 2008 with a stage win and the overall win in the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria. Further he was second in the Trofeo Laigueglia, 6th in Lugano, 15th in L’Eroica and 3rd behind his team mates Di Luca and Savoldelli in the Settimana Lombarda. Just as Bosisio Pietropolli will be from great value for the team in the mountains and can maybe do well in some middle mountain stages as well.

The youngest gun in the team is 24 year old Riccardo Chiarini. Chiarini turned pro in 2006 with Team 3C - Casalinghi Jet - Androni Giocattoli before joining LPR in 2007. Chiarini his best result in his career was 7th in the Coppa Placci and 3rd in the second stage of the Giro del Trentino. He isn’t that slow in a sprint and will make his debut in a Grand Tour.

Giairo Ermeti is 27 years old of age and had his best season in 2006 when he rode for LPR. He won the GP Lago Maggiore, was 6th in the Giro del Veneto, 10th in the Coppa Placci, 6th in the GP Industria & Commercio di Prato and 6th in the Memorial Cimurri. All tough races. In 2007 his best result was 9th in L’Eroica and so far in 2008 he was 11th in L’Eroica and 4th in the GP Industria & Artigianato.

Another nearly unknown rider in the LPR team is Paolo Bailetti. Bailetti is also 27 years old of age and turned pro with Team Androni Giocattoli - 3C Casalinghi in 2005. In 2007 he switched to LPR. Bailetti who has a good sprint and is a decent climber isn’t a winner but has some very good results already.

He was amongst others second in the Trofeo Matteotti (2005), 3rd in the Giro del Medio Brenta (2005), 4th in the GP Fred Mengoni (2005), 7th in the Tre Valle Varesine (2005), 6th in the Italian Road Championships (2006), 7th in the Coppa Placci (2006), 6th in the GP Beghelli (2006), 5th in the Brixia Tour (2007), 4th in the Giro dell’Appennino (2007), 5th in the Trofeo Melinda (2007) and 4th in the Coppa Placci (2007). As you can see his best results he got in the autumn races especially in Italy. Thus far in 2008 he hasn’t set any results (except of 2nd in the TT of the Settimana Lombarda) but he will hope to change that in the Giro as he will make his debut in a Grand Tour.

Last but not least we will introduce two veterans in the team with Slovenian Jure Golcer and Italian and friend of Danilo di Luca, Alessandro Spezialetti.

Jure Golcer is a 30 year old Slovenian who turned pro in 2002 with Perutnina. Further he rode for Volksbank, Formaggi Pinzolo, Acqua & Sapone, again Perutnina and Tenax before joining LPR after the merger with Tenax.

Golcer can climb well. He ha won the Jadranska Magistrala, the Giro D’Oro, GP Schwarzwald, a stage in the Tour of Slovenia and on top of that he was the Slovenian national road champion in 2006. Further he was amongst others second in the Giro del Trentino (2004), 5th in the Tour of Austria (2004), 6th in the Brixia Tour (2005), 2nd in the Tour of Slovenia (2006), 3rd in the Tour of Austria (2007) and 7th in L’Eroica (2007). Thus far in 2008 Golcer is doing quite well just as most of the other riders of the team. He was 10th in the Settimana Lombarda and 4th in the Giro del Trentino. In the Giro he will be one of the helpers in the mountains for Di Luca.

Finally we will introduce 33 year old Alessandro Spezialetti, a master helper of riders like Di Luca, Cunego and Simoni. Spezialetti was just as Di Luca involved in the Oil for Drug-case of 2004. In December 2007, he was suspended for 3 months by the Italian federation, until March 20, 2008. He turned pro in 1997 with Batik. Further he rode for Riso Scotti, Mobilvetta, Cantina Tollo, Saeco, Lampre and Liquigas. In 2001 he won his only race in his career thus far the second stage in the Giro D’Abruzzo. He will be from great value for the team by supporting Di Luca and also Savoldelli. He can also ride kilometers long in the lead of the bunch if one of the guys will grab the pink leaders jersey.

In short Team LPR – Brakes is certainly a team to keep an eye on with defending Giro winner Danilo di Luca and double Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli.

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