|-Bart Hazen's views over Lampre for the Giro-|
IGOR ASTARLOA ASKASIBAR, 28 YEARS (SPAIN)
Igor is born on 29 March 1976 in Ermua. He turned pro in 2000 with Mercatone Uno and rode there 2 seasons before he changed to Saeco.There he rode for another 2 seasons. In the beginning of 2004 he changed to Cofidis (the team of the 3 World-Champions, Millar, Gané and himself) but after Cofidis was involved in a doping-case and decided (in the beginning of April) to retire from cycling for a while, Igor could leave the team (because they said he has nothing to do with the problems within Cofidis). Several teams a.o Lampre, Saeco, Relax-Bodysol, Quick-Step-Davitamon, Fassa Bortolo, Saunier-Duval and Liberty Seguros were interested in the world-champion of Hamilton. After some weeks of negociating he signed in the last week of April for the Italian Lampre team. His comeback in the peloton after a month without competition was in the beginning of May in the GP Larciano.
Astarloa who became 28 in March is the present world-champion. He won last year in Hamilton before rising star Alejandro Valverde. Earlier in the season of 2003 he booked another big win. He won in April in a sprint with 2 the Fleche Wallonne. Astarloa, who is in Spain together with Oscar Freire a kind of “stranger” because of their classic-ambitions, is a rider who loves the Ardennes-classics, the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. But also the HEW-Cyclassic and the Classica-San Sebastian are races he loves. Earlier mentioned he made his comeback in the GP Larciano and with success finishing 2nd behind another rising star Damiano Cunego. Damiano Cunego could probably the new “Gibi”. “Gibi” is the nick-name of Gilberto Simoni. And the day after Larciano he won a race (a criterium) in Made. In the upcoming Giro Igor will be one of the main-riders of the Lampre team together with Juan-Manuel Garate. His goals are to ride some good stage and win some and to beat “Classic-King” of 2004 Davide Rebellin in one of these stages.
JUAN MANUEL GARATE CEPA, 28 YEARS (SPAIN)
Juan is was born on 24 April 1976 in Irun (Spain) will start together with Igor Astarloa as the “leader” of the team. But Juan is the rider who has to go for a good final ranking (also stage-wins are possible) and can count in the mountains on the help from Belli, Vila and maybe also from Astarloa. “Juamma” what is the nickname of Juan has already finished 4th once in the final Ranking of the Giro (2002). After the season of 2002 he suffered from a knee-injury for a while. At the end of 2003 the problems were solved and he could train (full) again and he started again racing in the beginning of March. He rode some promising results again. For example he finished top 15 in Pais Vasco, Top 20 in Trentino, finished 20th in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and his best result a 6th place in the 3rd stage of the Giro del Trentino. “Juamma” who turned pro in 2000 has won 3 times so far and all of them “big-wins” win a stage in the Vuelta a Espana 2001, a stage in the Giro del Trentino 2002 and a stage in de Tour de Suisse 2002. He rode in the seasons he is pro now always for Lampre.
FRANCISCO JAVIER “PATXI” VILA, 28 YEARS (SPAIN)
”Patxi” was born on 11 October 1975 in Verda de Bidasoa. He turned pro in 2001 with Ibanesto.com and rode there for 2 years. After these 2 years he changed to Lampre to join “mate” Juan-Manuel “Juamma” Garate. Patxi has 3 victory’s so far but all of them were in a team time-trail in a Portuguese tour with Ibanesto.com (Volta ao Portugal 2001, GP Mitshubishi 2002 and Volta ao Portugal 2002). At Lampre “Patxi” is a “gregario” who has to work for the team. He is a good friend of “Juamma” and due to him “Patxi” joined Lampre. In the coming Giro D’Italia Francisco’s role is to stay with Juan and at the end to help the sprinters (Svorada and Pagliarini) in the flat stages and in the mountain-stages to help Juan and Astarloa. “Patxi” his speciality is climbing.
MARIANO PICCOLI, 34 YEAR (ITALY)
Mariano was born on 11 September 1970 in Trento. Mariano turned pro 11 years ago in 1993 with Mercatone-Uno. Since 1995 till 1998 he rode for Brescialat and since 1999 for the Italian Lampre team. The “old gregario” has won 11 races so far and won 2 times the green-jersey (mountains) in the Giro D’Italia. The most important wins are 2 stages in the Giro and 3 in the Vuelta and the most of them he won after a long break-away, solo or in a sprint with a small group. The last victory of Mariano dates back from 2000, the 19th stage in the Vuelta a Espana in Avila. In the coming Giro he has to work for the sprinters Svorada and Pagliairini and can try to be in break-aways. And when it reached to the finish to completed it with a stage win.
JAN SVORADA, 35 YEAR (CZECH-REPUBLIC)
The Czech-Republic rider Jan Svorada was born on 28 August 1968 in Trencin. He turned pro 13 years ago in 1991 with Lampre and rides so far his whole carreer for this team except of 1997 and 1998 when he was a member of the famous Mapei team. He has 72 victories so far and the most of them all after a group-sprint. The most remarkable win being a sprinter like Svorada is the overall ranking in the Midi Libre (1994). Further he won several stages in all the Grand Tours, Giro, Tour and Vuelta and was 2 times champion of his country (1996 and 1998). From all the sprinters he was together with Cipollini, Blijlevens, Abdouzjaparov, Steels and maybe also Petacchi (and probably there are some more…) the “biggest” sprinters of the last decennia. For the coming Giro his confidence is very well winning a stage in Trentino and Romandy in the month April. Lampre expect from Svorada to battle in the sprints and to ride some nice results and maybe a stage win. But it will be very difficult with sprinters like Alessandro Petacchi, Mario Cipollini, Robbie McEwen, Ivan Quaranta (when he will reborn again) and some others. Svorada can probably count on the Brasilian Luciano Pagliarini to help him in the sprint but Luciano can finish close to.
LUCIANO PAGLIARINI MENDONCA, 26 YEARS (BRASILIA)
Luciano was born on 18 April 1978 in Arapongas in Brasilia. He turned pro in 2001 with Lampre and is still riding for this team. So far he has 7 victories and 5 of them he acchieved the last 2 years in the Tour de Langkawi. The others are the Classica Almeria (2003) and a stage in the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia (2004). Sprinting is his speciality and all of the victories are won after a sprint. In the Giro he has to help Jan Svorada but he supposingly is strong enough to go for own glory to. Another fact for Luciano, he is the only Brazilian rider in the race.
DANIELE RIGHI, 28 YEAR (ITALY)
Daniele was born on 28 March 1976 in the Colle Val D’Elsa. He turned pro in 2000 and rode the first 3 seasons for Alexia-Alluminio before he joined Lampre in 2003. So far he has 1 victorie, a team time-trial with Lampre in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. In 2004 his best effort so far is a 3rd place in the GP Miquel Indurain behind Matthias Kessler and Miquel-Angel Martin Perdiguerro. In the Giro he will start as a “gregario” what means he has to work for the team in the flat stages for the sprinters and in the other stage except of the time-trials for riders like “Juamma” and Astarloa. And I suppose in one of the stages he will get a “free” role and ride for his own chances. Daniele is not that slow and can finish close in a sprint without top-sprinters.
ANDREJ HAUPTMANN, 29 YEAR (SLOVENIA)
Andrej was born on 5 May 1975 in the Slovenian-city Ljubljana. He turned pro in 1999 and ride in 1999 en 2000 for Vini Caldirola, in 2001 and 2002 for Tacconi Sport, in 2003 for Sidermec and since the beginning of 2004 for Lampre. Andrej who can sprint very well and is more a classic-rider has won 4 races so far as a pro, a stage and the final ranking in the Jadranska Magistrale, The GP Fourmies (2000) and Slovenian Champion (2000). Next to his 4 wins his best effort was his 3rd place in 2001 at the World Championships in Lisboa behind World-Champion Oscar Freire and World-Cup winner Paolo Bettini. But the last 2 years it’s not going that well with Andrej. The best effort so far in 2004 is a 10th position in GP Pino Cerami won by the young Belgian rider Nico Sijmens (Landbouwkrediet) who will also start in the Giro to help Yaroslav Popovych (3rd in Giro 2003). In the coming Giro the role for Andrej is probably to help the sprinters in the flat-stages and to be in break-aways. If a break-away succeeds also Andrej is not that slow and cab finish close.
WLADIMIR BELLI, 34 YEAR (ITALY)
Wladimir was born on 25 July 1970 in Sorengo (Switserland). But due the fact he is born in Switserland he is an Italian. Wladimir turned pro in August 1992 (12 years ago) with Lampre and rode for that team till 1996. In 1997 he rode one year for Brescialat before the “old-warrior” joined Festina. After the season of 1999 he left Festina to join the “magic” Fassa Bortolo of Giancarlo Feretti. But in these 2 years he didn’t ride that well to get a new contract and since 2003 he rides again for the team where he started in 1992, Lampre. In his carreer as a pro he has won 11 times but when he was a U23 he was a promosing young-rider who won the Babygiro. Also he has finished on some good places in the final rankings of the Grand Tours, especially in the Giro. Wladimir won stage(s) in the Tour of Switserland, Volta ao Portugal, Settimana Bergasmasca and won 2 Italian semi-classics, the Giro dell Appennino and the GP “Citta” di Camaiore.
But the “biggest”win so far is the final ranking in the Giro del Trentino (1996). The last years, especially this year he don’t ride that well but he showed some improvements in the Tour of Romandy last week. In the coming Giro he must probably help ranking-riders “Juamma” and Astarloa in the mountains and can try to be in break-aways. But it can also be possible that he can ride some good results for his own in some stages.
OTHER LAMPRE FACTS
Marco Pinotti (28 Year) who rode some excellent races in the spring finishing 3rd in the time time-trial of the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia and 12th in the Final Ranking ( 3 times top 15 in stages of Tour of Romandy and 8th in the last stage (time-trial) is not been selected by the director-sportif. He was very disappointed because of his good shape. He will now preparing for the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of Luxemburg this month. His goal is to ride good time-trials and finishing close in the final rankings. After that he will maybe start in the Bici Vasca and the Tour of Switserland to preparing himself for the Italian Championships, especially the time-trial. Another goal is to ride well in the coming time-trials to show Ballerini that he is together with Quinziato candidates to participate in the World Championships time-trial in Verona. It will be held in October.
Other Candidates who will not be participating in the coming Giro for Lampre are Sergio Barbero, Matteo Carrara, Manuel Quinziato, Alessandro Cortinovis, Simone Bertoletti and the others who aren’t selected.