Giuliano Figueras (Ita)
Graeme Brown (Aus)
Vladimir Duma (Ukr)
Sergei Matveyev (Ukr)
Julio Alb. Perez Cuapio (Mex)
Filippo Perfetto (Ita)
Yauheni Seniushkin (Blr)
Antonio Varriale (Ita)
Faat Zakirov (Rus)
Directeur Sportifs - Bruno & Roberto Reverberi
Team Leader Giuliano Figueras first caught international headlines when he became the under 23 Champion of the World in Lugano in 1996. Turning professional in 1998 with the Mapei team, he achieved his first success in Malaysia winning the Queen stage in the Genting Highlands, and consolidated his position the following year in Europe with six victories. However in 2000, having to ride continually for Mapei?s great captains like Bartoli, Bettini, Tafi and Tonkov, the Neapolitan lost his way and fell out with the teams patron Squinzi. The Reverberi brothers Bruno and Roberto, the leading force behind the Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo team were quick to offer Giuliano a place and last season he consolidated his position, finishing an encouraging 10th in the Giro.
This season signs are encouraging for an improvement on that position. He was second only to Garzelli and ahead of Casagrande in the GP Industria e Artigianato - Larciano 1.2 held a few days ago and won the Giro dell Appennino 1.2 on 01/05 2002. He is coming into form nicely with a more balanced team than last year should see Figueras do better than he did last year.
The small Mexican climber, Julio Alberto ?lucky? Perez Cuapio scored one of the most memorable stage victories in last years Giro; a spectacular victory over 224 kilometres between Montebelluna and Passo Pordoi made even more poignant following two crashes that had removed several teeth and done little to advertise carbon fibre forks earlier in the race. He has been showing excellent form this season, finishing second in the Giro del Trentino ahead of Simoni and proving to be more than happy to ride for team leader Figueras on other occasions.
Surprise rider for the team could well be Russian Faat Zakirov. After riding for Lada and an elite Amore & Vita gave him a chance to move up a gear last year. He repaid them handsomely winning two stages and overall of the Dirka Po Sloveniji and finishing an excellent 14th in the World Road Race championship. A new signing this year for the Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo team, he has been a revelation, finishing 7th overall in Trentino and featuring strongly as a team player in the one day races.
Australian sprinter Graeme Brown scored two victories in this years Tour of Langkwai on stages 6 and 10, and will be looking to make his mark for a stage victory in this years Giro. The Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo team have time on their side: Vladimir Duma is the oldest rider at 30 years old, and they have shown so far this season an excellent team spirit and although Figueras, ?Lucky? and Faat may not be strong enough to take the overall, they will certainly give the bigger boys some frights along the way.
Daily Peloton "in the pink" rating 8 out of 10.