Ceramiche Panaria - Fiordo News
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Bruno and Roberto Reverberi have named the squad that will defend Julio Alberto “Lucky” Pérez Cuapio green mountain jersey. It is a good combination of Australian hard men (3), classy Italians (4), a Mexican and one man from the Argentine.
The squad is -
Giuliano Figueras (I), Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (Mex), Graeme A. Brown (Aus), Scott Davis (Aus), Paolo Lanfranchi (I), Paolo Tiralongo (I), Luca Mazzanti (I), Brett Lancaster (Aus), Ruben Bongiorno (Arg).
One rider who needs no introduction is Julio Alberto Perez. “Lucky” spoke at the start of the season to the Gazzetta about his hopes for 2003: "Sooner or later I hope to win the Giro. I have learned a lot in the two Giros I have competed in. I have begun to learn how to control my attacks - to attack at the right moment. I must climb with my regular rhythm, making speed, but without forcing myself too hard. I feel myself ready and mature; stage victories are not enough for me any more. The next Giro is a hard one, with 5 mountain top finishes. I intend to train on the Zoncolan and dell'Alpe di Pampeago. I will have to suffer on the flat days as always: but hopefully the team will be stronger this year. But my ambition is to be on the podium if things go to plan - if something goes wrong I still hope to finish in the top ten."
Perez has been working hard with his coach, Davide Morelli, on his ability in the time trial. "I know that in order to win the Giro you must be strong in this specialty - it will be important not to lose more than 20-30’’ against the main contenders. I feel I am improving season after season, and riders do tend to mature after they are 26-27 years old." To read another article on “Lucky” click here.
Certainly such preparation and training have been paying off. A stage and overall winner in the very hotly disputed Settimana Ciclista Lombarda 2003 the fact that he won the TT stage will be of immense satisfaction.
One of the most spectacular riders to watch, the Giro seems to be the place of destiny for “Lucky” Perez.
The former U23 world champion had a dreadful 2002. Suspended for dopage and then hit very hard by the death of his father. Earlier this year he said -
"For 2003 I can only promise total commitment, I intend to give 100%. I do not know if it will be enough to win, but I intend to be competitive from Sanremo to Lombardy. As for ambitions in the Giro, I will need a full season racing before I could consider myself a Tour contender. I know that my time trialing is a handicap, but I fear that if I were to concentrate on improving that, it may be to the detriment of other aspects of my racing."
So far the signs are good - a great victory in the GP Chiasso 2003 would indicate that we may finally see this talented rider at his best.
Graeme Brown (Aus) a member of the four-man team that smashed the world 4km record at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, the man from Darwin has a very consistent palmares: A stage in the Tour Down Under and two stages in the Tour de Langkawi in 2002 and the same in 2003.
He will be hoping to add a Giro stage to that list and with a bit more experience from last year may well do so.
Bruno Reverberi has used his small budget wisely this year, bringing in the highly experienced Italian Paolo Lanfranchi. The Gazzaniga-born Italian, who joined the pro ranks in 1993, left Index Alexia to join Panaria Fiordo this season, after being with Mapei Quickstep in 1999 and 2001 and Index-Alexia 2002. Lanfranchi was Panaria's final signing this season, completing a list of 13 riders in the team's roster for 2003.
A rider who is a natural team player, as “Trignone” showed in the Settimana Ciclista Lombarda 2003, his support, great riding abilities and wealth of experience could be vital to his younger team mates.
Luca Mazzanti Very solid pro won the fourth stage of the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali 2003 earlier this year.
Ruben Bongiorno won stage 10 Tour de Langkawi 2003 ahead of teammate Graeme Brown.