Almost ready the Saeco Team for Tour de France
Three fighting for last place with Simoni and Di Luca
There is still a place to be filled in the Saeco Team which will ride the Centennial Tour de France. The health problems of Stefano Zanini (knee and back problems) and Salvatore Commesso (lower back) are rapidly recovering and so team manager Claudio Corti and directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli are been able to decide eight of the nine riders who will race in France.
The winner of the Giro dItalia Gilberto Simoni will be the absolute leader of the Saeco team. The rider from the Trentino mountain area will be aiming to do well even overall even though he has been troubled by a few problems in the last few days. Alongside Simoni there will be three strong rouleurs: Paolo Fornaciari, Fabio Sacchi and Stefano Zanini. Fornaciari and Sacchi both rode the Giro.
It will be the job of Gerrit Glomser impressive winner of the recent Tour of Austria and of Leonardo Bertagnolli to help Simoni in the mountains. Danilo Di Luca (back after breaking his collarbone) and Salvatore Commesso will also help Simoni but they will also be asked to get into breaks to try and win stages.
The last rider of the Saeco Team will be decided on Monday. It will be a choice among Andrea Tonti, Ivan Quaranta and Joerg Ludewig.
Team Leader - Gilberto Simoni:
Rouleurs - Paolo Fornaciari, Fabio Sacchi and Stefano Zanini.
Grimpeurs - Gerrit Glomser , Leonardo Bertagnolli
Road men - Danilo Di Luca , Salvatore Commesso
Simoni misses Italian championships in Saltara
A thigh muscle problem forces him to rest up
In accordance with the medical and technical staff of the Saeco team, Gilberto Simoni has today decided not to ride the Italian national professional championships on Sunday in Saltara on the Adriatic coast the only race planned for the Giro winner before the start of the Tour de France.
A thigh muscle problem has afflicted Gilberto for the last few days and treatment has not fully resolved it. Simoni still felt the problem during a training ride yesterday morning and this determined the preventative decision to miss the Italian championships.
"It wasnt worth risking it," Team manager Claudio Corti said. "The Italian championships is an important race and it wouldnšt be fair to ride in such a precarious condition."
The Saeco team will have defending champion Salvatore Commesso as leader, plus Danilo Di Luca, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Giosuč Bonomi, Antonio Bucciero, Mirko Celestino, Damiano Cunego, Alessio Galletti, Nicola Gavazzi, Cristian Pepoli, Fabio Sacchi, Alessandro Spezialetti and Andrea Tonti. As well as Simoni the only riders not competing are Dario Pieri, Stefano Zanini and Paolo Fornaciari.
On Sunday Igor Astarloa and Juan Fuentes will take part in the Spanish championships while Jorg Ludewig, Igor Pugaci and Alexandre Shefer will not rider their championships.