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Gilberto Simoni's Pre-Vuelta Interview
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 9/5/2002
Gilberto Simoni's Pre-Vuelta Interview

Saeco Team Press release: 5/9/2002

Vuelta 2002: An interview with Gilberto Simoni

Q: Are you as motivated for the Vuelta as you were for the Giro díItalia?

A: "Even more so. Most of all Iím very angry even if I can only blame myself. I made a stupid mistake and it seemed like it was the end of the world. On the other hand Iím happy that both the Italian justice system and sporting justice system understood the matter. That has given me back my happiness and enthusiasm."

Q: Does that mean the scars have healed?

A: "Itís a bit early to say that. A lot of things happened, the team was badly affected. My teammates missed out on doing well in the Giro and were stopped from riding the Tour. The Saeco president Sergio Zapella and team manager have put their faith in me and so I owe them a lot. I hope I can pay them back."

Q: Did the time away from racing create any problems or do you think youíre ready for this important challenge?

A: "Iíve worked really hard and I donít think I could have done things any better. I started racing again at the start of August and during the last few weeks Iíve got better and better, getting some good results. I didnít win but I went close, especially at the Giro del Friuli. I think Iíll be competitive at the Vuelta."

Q: Have already studied your rivals?

A: "Iíve been away from racing for some time and so itís not easy. Iím sure the Spanish riders are the ones to beat. The first week of the race will be the last chance to get an exact idea about my rivals and about myself."

Q: Lance Armstrong named you has his main rival for the Tour de France: a battle that never occurred. Do you think itíll happen in the future?

A: "Why not? Iíve just started my comeback. I hope itíll last a long time and be very fruitful."

Q: The Saeco-Longoni Sport team will be very strong for the Vuelta.

A: "Yes, weíre very strong and very united as a team. The race will test us all but also show our strengths. Now weíre even stronger than in the past."

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