Ivan Gotti (Ita)
Alessandro Bertolini (Ita)
Pietro Caucchioli (Ita)
Daniele De Paoli (Ita)
Angelo Furlan (Ita)
Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro)
Christian Moreni (Ita)
Franco Pellizzotti (Ita)
Mauro Zanetti (Ita)
The Alessio team became rather unfortunate victims of the UCI?s changes to the Division rankings of teams this winter. Having done well last season, Alession rightfully expected promotion from the old Division 2, until the UCI expanded Division 1 their success was not rewarded. Indeed, by a curious loop hole in the rules they found themselves excluded from selection for a couple of the major classics; scant reward for a competitive team. Nevertheless the team have continued their climb up the league table and at the end of last month were a very solid 9th ranked team in the world.
The squad Alessio bring to this years Giro could be described as "the old and the new." Leading the team is veteran rider and double Giro winner, the man from San Pellegrino, Ivan Gotti. The 33 year old may be too long in the tooth to be considered a major contender, but he finished 7th last year and is known for his determination. At the other end of the age range youngster Franco Pellizotti stormed into the headlines in his first year as a pro last season with a sensational ride in the Vuelta Espana, finishing 20th overall. The 24 year old from Latisana has had a good early start to the season this year, too, Scoring his first two professional victories on the sixth stage of Tirreno -Adriatico (Montegranaro) and the fourth stage of Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2002. The combination of the experience of Gotti and the young legs of Pellizzotti might be enough to give a few scares to the favourites.
It is a team of many talents: Daniele De Paoli was in magnificent form when he rode away from the entire peloton on the cruel slopes of Encamps on stage 7 of the Volta a Catalunya, and on his day is one of the best climbers in the world. Alessandro Bertolini has bags of experience, and can win races; his victory last year in one of the most poignant races of the year the Circuito de Getxo - Memorial Ricardo Otxoa. Christian Moreni, like De Paoli, comes to the team this year from the Mercatone Uno, and like his new teammate, gave the team one of its few successes last year with his 2nd stage victory in the Vuelta a Castilla e Leon 2001.
Pietro Caucchioli is no stranger to Giro success. Indeed, last season he won two stages: the eighth stage into Reggio Emilia, putting 8 seconds into Davide Rebellin and he doubled that success on the 17th stage into San Remo. He has shown early form this season too, winning the third stage of the tour of Aragon. Angelo Furlan and Vladimir Miholjevic, the only non Italian in the team, are the hard men of the squad who have gained their career victories on the tough Eastern European circuit, and certainly know a bit about digging deep when the team needs it.
Last season the Alessio boys won the team competition. It will take a very good team to dethrone them of that title and Gotti?s knowledge may just help one of the young guns to greater things.
Daily Peloton ?in the pink ? rating 8 out of 10