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Preview Tour de France: Team Saeco
By Staff
Date: 7/3/2003
Preview Tour de France: Team Saeco

By Karen Lambrecht

The absolute leader of the team will be Gilberto Simoni. The rider from the Trentino area will have the support of three strong ‘rouleurs’: Fabio Sacchi, Paolo Fornaciari and Stefano Zanini. The two first have already done the Giro.

Leonardo Bertagnolli and Gerrit Glomser will help Simoni in the mountains. That’s also the job for Danilo Di Luca and Salvatore Comesso, but they can also go into breaks to try to win a stage.

The last rider who received a place in the red team is German rider Jörg Ludewig. The Saeco staff prefered him to Quaranta because also Ludewig can help Simoni to do well.

"I’m sorry for Quaranta but this time it was purely a technical decision," Team manager Claudio Corti said. "After the results of the Giro d’Italia and considering the ride Gilberto Simoni could do in the Tour, we have decided that it is the right decision. It is not that Quaranta has been overlooked. We still feel he is one of the strongest sprinters in the world and we will make sure he gets other chances to show what he can do."

The Red Train on the approach to the Zoncolan. Courtesy Saeco.

The Riders

Leonardo Bertagnolli
08/01/1978, Trento (Ita)
1 victory
2002-2003       Saeco

Bertagnolli was racing the Giro d’Italia as a lieutenant for Simoni and ended 25th in the general ranking.

Salvatore Comesso
28/03/1975, Torre del Greco (Ita)
10 victories
1998-2003       Saeco

Salvatore Comesso ended third in the Italian championships, after winning the last two years. In the past he won 2 stages in the Tour de France (in 1999 and 2000). For sure he will be seen in a breakaway and in the sprint with a small group, he isn’t slow.

Danilo Di Luca
02/01/1976, Spoltore (Ita)
23 victories
1998                Riso Scotti
1999-2001       Cantina Tollo
2002-2003       Saeco

He didn’t ride the Giro, to prepare to the Tour. For the general ranking, he can’t (yet) compete with Armstrong, but if he can go away with a small group, he isn’t prospectless. Di Luca will be also an excellent helper for his leader Gilberto Simoni.

Paolo Fornaciari
02/02/1971, Viareggio (Ita)
1 victory
1992-1995       Mercatone Uno
1996-1998       Saeco
1999-2002       Mapei
2003                Saeco

The always smiling Italian is also present in the Tour, after he rode the Giro d’Italia. In the flat stages, Fornaciari can do a lot of work in favour of his leader. Once in the mountains  he will, still smiling, take place in the grupetto.

Gerrit Glomser
01/04/1975, Salsburg (Aut)
7 victories
1998                Scrigno Gaerne
1999                Navigare Gaerne
2000                Ceramiche Panaria
2001                Post Swiss Team
2002-2003       Saeco

Winner of two stages and the final ranking in the Bank Austria Tour. The team expect a lot from him after his excellent performance in Austria.

Jörg Ludewig
09/09/1975, Halle (Ger)
3 victories
1997-1998       Bayern Worringen
1999                Gerolsteiner
2000-2003       Saeco

After a fifth place in the National Championships, Ludewig should be ready for the Tour de France.

Fabio Sacchi
22/05/1974, Milano (Ita)
7 victories
1997-2000       Polti
2001-2003       Saeco

Fabio rode the Giro d’Italia this year. He went to the Alpes (Alpe d’Huez, Galibier…) with Simoni to prepare the Tour.

Gilberto Simoni
25/08/1971, Trento (Ita)
20 victories
1994                Jolly-Cage
1995-1996       Aki-Gipiemme
1997                MG Technogym
1998                Cantina Tollo-Alexia
1999                Ballan-Alexia
2000-2001       Lampre-Daikin
2002-2003       Saeco

Gilberto Simoni won the Giro d’Italia, including 3 stage-victories. In the Tour, he will try to perform well. He went to the Alpe d’Huez and other cols in the mountains to review the course. He can count on his team, where 3 riders did the Giro together with him.

Stefano Zanini
23/01/1969, Varese (Ita)
30 victories
1991-1993       Italbonifica Navigare
1994                Navigare-Blue Storm
1995-1996       Gewiss
1997-2002       Mapei
2003                Saeco

He’s one of the most experienced men in the team. He can work very hard in the flat stages, but in the mountains, he will join Fornaciari in the grupetto.

Sport directors: Giuseppe Martinelli, Guido Bontempi.

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