Mapei-Quick Step for the Giro
Stefano Garzelli, winner of the 2000 Giro D'Italia, will lead Mapei in the Giro, and has shown incredible form this year. Leading teammate Paolo Bettini to victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he set a blistering tempo on the La Redoute climb, blowing the race to bits and setting up a Mapei one two victory, and giving us all a preview of what he has in store for his season's main objective: The Maglia Rosa.
As Gilberto Simoni's number one rival, Garzelli is sure to ride hard, and has the form to challenge for the return of his title.
He will be supported in the climbs by Andrea Noč, Dario Cioni and 24 year old former mountain biking sensation turned road racer Cadel Evans. Davide Bramati and Paolo Fornaciari will provide motors for the flats, and we can expect stage victories and a broader role in support from Paolo "the cricket" Bettini, whose form couldn't look much better this season; and Italian National Champion Daniele Nardello whose strong performances this spring make him a threat in any move.
Mapei's man for the sprints will be Robert Hunter, who won three stages of the Tour de Langkawi this year, but is likely to have his hands full with the likes of Mario Cipollini on the job.
Mapei has had an incredibly successful early season, with their elite team racking up 18 wins in just 4 months, 5 of them belonging to Paolo Bettini. They are the number one rated UCI team, and are always a force to be reckoned with.
Daily Peloton "In the Pink" rating: 9.2