The sole Spanish team to contest this year's Giro d'Italia, Saunier Duval-Prodir, has also just attained Div I status in 2004. The team is bringing a strong collection of riders, including a couple of young guns and while Saunier Duval is not expected to be a GC threat they should certainly be in contention for stage wins.
According to Joxean Fernandez “Matxin”, the teams objectives are crystal clear. They are aiming to take a couple of stage wins and hope to place some riders in the top ten overall. One would expect their GC hopes to center on Juan Carlos Dominguez, who won the Giro prologue in 2002. This season he has claimed overall GC victory in the Ruta del Sol as well as taking one stage there. He is a solid all rounder with 23 career victories in his pocket already, but Matxin states that Dominguez is not at 100%.
Their other big guns are Rubens Bertogliati - who is of course remembered for a classic move in the 2002 Tour de France when he burst out of the pack and took a solo victory and Yellow Jersey on stage 1! Italian’s Massimo Strazzer and Alberto Loddo will be in contention for the sprints. Strazzer has 32 career victories, with two stage wins last season along with six podium spots. Alberto Loddo is winner of the 2003 Tour of Qatar.
Spaniard David Canada is obviously a strong addition to the Giro team having finished both the Tour de France (56th place) and the Vuelta (23rd place) last year. Neo-Pro Emanuele Mori had 7 victories last year but now he is riding with the big leagues.
On the Saunier Duval-Prodir website Joxean Fernandez “Matxin” states that Ruben Lobata, David Canada and Emanuele Mori will be operating freely, not in support of any chosen leader, which “...can allow them to be ahead” and shoot for individual victories in stages, or high placement in the overall. Young guns Emanuele Mori & Oliver Zaugg will be riding in their first Grand Tours. It will be interesting to see how they fare.
Saunier Duval-Prodir (Spa)
161. Rubens Bertogliati (Swi)
162. David Cañada Gracia (Spa)
163. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa)
164. Juan Gomis Lopez (Spa)
165. Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa)
166. Alberto Loddo (Ita)
167. Emanuele Mori (Ita)
168. Oliver Zaugg (Swi)
169. Massimo Strazzer (Ita)