Fassa Bortolo for the Giro
Giancarlo Ferretti has selected a similar team to last year for the Giro d'Italia. Leading the team is Francesco Casagrande, who has shown good form in the Settimana Internazionale de Coppi e Bartali, where he won the G.C. and in the Giro del Trentino, where he won stage two and the G.C. He stands an excellent chance in the G.C. at the Giro, and will not lack support with an all star cast of supporting characters.
Wladimir Belli and Serguei Gontchar are consistently strong; and special notice must certainly go to the winner of this year's Amstel Gold race, Michele Bartoli. Bartoli was out of commission for a good part of last year due to injury and some infighting with the other hot-blooded Latins on his old Mapei squad. His winning form has been a long time in coming back, but by all indicators, it appears to be here, and we may see "The Warrior" draw his sword in battle at the Giro.
Dmitri Konychev, Gorazd Stangelj, Matteo Tosatto, and Denis Zanette will serve well as domestiques and Alessandro Petacchi will be the man for the sprints. Petacchi has been a winning machine earlier in the season, claiming no less than nine victories: a stage at the Tour Mediterraneen, three stages at the Volt a la Comunitat Valenciana, two at Paris-Nice, and three more at the Settimana Internazionale de Coppi e Bartali. It will be interesting and thrilling to see if handsome Petacchi can mount a successful challenge to the king of sprinters, resplendent in the Aqua e Sapone "zebrato."
Daily Peloton "In the Pink" rating: 9.5