|-text by Bart Hazen-|
MARZIO BRUSEGHIN, 29 YEAR (ITALY)
Marzio is born on 15 June 1974 in Conegliano. He turned pro in 1997 with Brescialat en rode there for 2 years. In 1999 he changed to Banesto en rode there till the end of 2002 before joining the Italian top-team Fassa Bortolo. Marzio didnít win anything so far but was several time very close. Last year he was 2nd behind Sergei Honchar in the last stage of the Giro, a time-trial from Idroscalo to Milano. The distance between them was 19 seconds. In 2000 he was 3rd in a time-trial in the Giro del Trentino. As you see he can ride a very good time-trial but also climbing isnít that bad regarding his 16th position in the Final Ranking of the Giro 2001. In the Giro 2004 his job is to help Alessandro Petacchi. To lead him to the best-positions for the sprints. In the mountain-stages he can do probably his own thing or has to work for Cioni or maybe Gustov and Codol. Also he will try to ride some good time-trials for his own.
DARIO DAVID CIONI, 29 YEAR (ITALY)
Dario is born on 2 December 1974 in Reading, Great-Brittain. But due the fact he is born in the UK he choose for the Italian nationality. Before Dario turned pro in 2000 with Mapei-Quick Step he was a talented mountainbiker. He won his fair share of MTB races, mainly in Italy, accumulated seven top ten places in World Cup events, including a 9th place in the '98 MTB Worlds, and has been a member of the MTB "gli azzurri" since 1992. For Mapei he rode 3 seasons. Since 2003 he is riding for Fassa Bortolo and has 3 victories so far. The victories are a stage in the Tour of Slovenia, a stage and the final ranking in the Circuit des Mines. This season Dario is in a good shape finishing 2nd in the 4th stage of the Tour of Romandy and 5th in the final ranking of the same tour. Dario can ride a good time-trial and is a good climber. In the 2004 Giro he will be the main-rider of the team for the ranking now Frigo (virus-infection) and Aitor Gonzalez (preparing for the Tour and Vuelta) will not start.
MASSIMO CODOL, 31 YEAR (ITALY)
Massimo is born on 27 February 1973 in Lecco. He turned pro in 1998 with Mapei, in 2000 he joined Lampre and booked 2 victories. The first one a stage in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and the other one was the Japan Cup. It are the only 2 wins for Massimo so far. In 2003 he joined Mercatone-Uno but the team decided to quit at the end of the season. Currently he is riding for Fassa Bortolo. Other remarkable results are the 2nd place in stage 20 of the Giro 1999, the 5th place in Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2002 and the 15th position in the final ranking of the Giro last year. This season he didnít ride any results so far but maybe it can change in the Giro and what will come after it. In the Giro he is together with Cioni and maybe Gustov a rider who can go for a good position in the Final ranking. But Iíll guess in the first days he has to work for Petacchi and Cioni.
ALBERTO ONGARATO, 28 YEAR (ITALY)
Alberto is born on 24 July 1975 in Padova. He turned pro in 1998 with Ballan. Further he rode for Mobilvetta, De Nardi, Domina Vacanze and since the beginning of 2004 for Fassa Bortolo. Alberto has won 3 races so far, a stage in the Giro DíAbruzzo (1998), a stage in the Voltao a Portugal (2000) and a stage in the Classica Alcobendas (2002). Further itís a rider with a lot of podium-positions. The best effort of him in this season so far is the 2nd place in the Giro di Toscana won by his teammate Matteo Tosatto. Another remarkable fact is the conflict he had with Mario Cipollini and Giovanni Lombardi after Gent-Wevelgem of last year when he rode for Domina Vacanze. The conflict came after ďCipoĒ gave them a burn-out saying that they had to wait of him after the Kemmelberg. But according to ďCipoĒ they didnít. The conflict was solved after a while because in the beginning they didnít talked to each other anymore. In the Giro Alberto is one of the riders who has to help Petacchi in the sprints but there will be stages Iíll guess where he can go for own glory because he isnít that slow to.
ALESSANDRO PETACCHI, 30 YEAR (ITALY)
Alessandro (the new Il-Re Leone) is born on 3 January 1974 in La Spezia (Tuscany). He turned pro in 1996 with Scrigno and rode there for 3 seasons before he changed to Fassa where he is still riding for. In the first 4 years of his pro-carreer he won 1 race, a stage in the Tour of Langkawi (1998). From 2000 in his 2nd year at Fassa he started to win race after race. From 2000 till now he won 8 stages in the Vuelta (5 of them in 2003), 6 stages in the Giro (All in 2003) and 4 stages in the Tour (All of them in 2003). Further he won stages in short-tours in Spain, Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Nice, Eneco Tour (Tour of Holland) and in Italian stage-races (of 5 days). In 2004 he won already 7 times. He won 2 stages in the Giro di Lucca, 3 stages in Tirreno-Adriatico and 2 stages in the Vuelta a Aaragon. On of his dreams is to win some world-cup once but till now he was 2 times very close regarding his 2nd place in Paris-Tours 2003 and his 4th place in Milano-SanRemo 2004. Some other remarkable facts about him are from the Giro and Tour of last year. In the Giro he has in one of the stages in week 1 a conflict with Andris Naudusz and gave each other a heavy punch on their faces. The Jury gave Alessandro a fine and disqualified the Latvian rider Naudusz. In stage 15 a time-trial to Bolzano he crashed but completed the stage and the day after he suffers a lot with the injuries. You should say he didnít suffer that much because of his 2 stage wins in stage 16 and 17 but in stage 18 in the mountain-stage to Chianale he did. He finished together with Cioni who has to wait on him outside the timelimit and has to go home. In the Tour of 2003 there was a story that he has no sense to ride the Tour and wasnít motivated for it, but he won in the first week 4 stages before he quit in the first mountain-stage. In the Giro he is the absolutely number 1 of the team. This means that almost every rider has to work for him and to help him in the sprints. And finally he has to finish the job of his ďmatesĒ to beat a.o Cipollini and McEwen in a royal-sprint.
FABIO SACCHI, 29 YEAR (ITALY)
Fabio is born on 23 May 1974 in Milano. Fabio who is more famous due his constantly changing hair-look turned pro in 1996 with Polti and rode ther till 2000. In 2001 he changed to saeco and since the beginning of this season he defends the colours of Fassa. He has 7 victories so far and among them a.o the Coppa Bernocchi (1998) and the Giro di Romagna (2003). Another fact is the ban of him in 2002 after they found some forbidden products at his home. In the 2004 season so far he didnít ride any remarkable results of it must be the 10th position in the final ranking of the Tour of Qatar. In the Giro he is the most of all a ďgregarioĒ who has to lead Petacchi to some stage-wins. But when he is in a break-away or something and they let them ride he can win too due the fact he isnít that slow in a sprint.
MATTEO TOSATTO, 29 YEARS (ITALY)
Matteo is born on 14 May 1974 in Castelfranco. He turned pro in 1997 with MG-Technogym. Further he rode for Ballan (Ballan-Alessio) before he joined Fassa in 2000. He has 5 victories so far and all of them are very wonderfull. In 1998 he won the Giro del Medio Brenta, in 2000 he won the 5th stage of Paris-Nice, In 2001 the 12th stage in the Giro DíItalia, in 2003 the Coppa Placci and last week the Giro di Toscane before his team-member Alberto Ongarato. Further he has a lot of podiumplaces in the Giro di Luca, The Italian-Semi Classics and some short stage-races. Matteo is a rider who can work for a team, can sprint, get away in break-aways and can ride quite well in the hills (not in the high-mountains). In the Giro he has to lead together with the others to some stage-wins. In stages who are not made for Petacchi he can probably do his own thing and in 2001 it was with success.
VOLODOMIR GUSTOV, 27 YEAR (UKRAINE)
Volodomir is born on 15 February 1977 in Kiev. The Ukrainian-rider turned pro in 2000 with Fassa and is still riding for that team. So far he has 1 victory, the final ranking of the Regio Tour last year. Further he was 2nd in the Ukrainian Championships 2000, 3rd in stage 1 and 2nd in stage 2 of the Regio Tour last year what brings him finally the overall win of this stage-race. In 2002 he was suspended for 2 weeks after a high-hematocrit value before the start of the Tour of Romandy. In the 2004 season he hasnít any results yet. In first instances he wasnít selected for the Giro but due the virus-infection of Dario Frigo and the illness of Frigoís replacement Frank Vandenbroucke he gets a place in the squad by Feretti. Volodomir is a rider who can ride well in the mountains and in time-trials. In the Giro he has to help Alessandro (Iíll guess) in the sprints and Cioni and maybe Codol in the other stages. And when he is in a break-away a good result for his own is also possible.
MARCO VELO, 30 YEAR (ITALY)
Marco is born on 19 March 1974 in Brescia. The Italian hard-rider turned pro in 1996 with Brescialat. Further he rode for Mercatone Uno (4 years) before he joined Fassa Bortolo in 2002. Velo has 12 victories so far and 9 of them are time-trials. He was 4 times national champion in this discipline (1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001). Further he won a stage in the Giro del Trentino, The GP Tell (also the Final Ranking), The GP Llodio and some other time-trials like Pistoia-Firenze. His last victory dates from 2001 when he was Italian champion in the time-trial discipline. Other remarkable facts of Marco are from 2001. In that year he was tested positive again in LidocaÔne after the Italian Championships. The contra-expertise was positive too. He risked a ban of 4 years but the ban is never come. In 2004 he didnít show anything so far but he has a lot of experience what can help the team to win some stages in the Giro. In the flat stages he has to help Alessandro and in the mountain-stages he can work for Cioni or Codol and can go for own glory in stages that suits him well, especially the time-trials.