The Daily Peloton’s Giro d’Italia 2004 preview continues with a few“minor” Italian teams, that even without many big names (but there’s some good exceptions to the rule) in their rosters, are hopeful to make the headines in the “Corsa Rosa”. And not just by launching the usual early stage attacks that give race reporters something to talk about while waiting from the “big guns” to come and steal the show, but also aiming for some more concret targets. You may hardly find the 87th Giro d’Italia winner’s name in the line-ups of De Nardi, Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé, Team Tenax, but don’t be surprised if you see any of their men on the podium as stage winner, or wearing the leader’s jersey in other, minor classifications …
.. and that’s De Nardi’s case for sure. The Italian squad can boast the only British participant at the Giro, Finland-born Charles Wegelius, in his second season with the blue-clad team, and aiming at improving last year’s 50th place overall finish, although his early season performances were not too encouraging.
Wegelius at the 2003 Giro © Daily Peloton
But after the Genoa Prologue Time Trial De Nardi might boast also the first “Maglia Rosa” holder, courtesy of the 33-year-old Serhiy Honchar. The Ukrainian certainly knows his stuff when it comes to time-trialling, such that he even captured the World Title at Plouay in the year 2000. And he also knows what a Giro stage victory means: in fact he has hit the podium as stage winner more than once in this race, the first one being in 1997, the last being the 2003 closing ITT from Milan’s Idroscalo to the suggestive Piazza Duomo. And if the past Tour of Italy ended with some “race of truth” glory for the man and the squad, why couldn’t the race resume like that? This is what De Nardi’s experienced team manager Gianni Stanga hopes for.
Time-Trialling Sensation Serhyi Honchar
The same Stanga admitted that the team’s winning hopes go well beyond the former Liquigas and Fassa Bortolo rider anyway, and are extended to one the revelations of the current season, Simone Cadamuro. The young Italian surprised many as he sprinted to victory at the Doha International GP season opener (Race
report) in Qatar in early February. And the 27-year-old venetian from San Doná di Piave, that turned professional in 2002 after seven years in the amateur ranks, didn’t stop there. He notched up another prestigious win at Holland’s Veenendaal-Veenendaal (Race report) less than a month ago, as he powered his way to victory with a late attack, and finished ahead of no less than Robbie McEwen. He also collected four more top 3 finishes in early season races here and there, and with such a “pedigree” no doubt he might give the fastest wheels of the Giro peloton a run for their money, or even some unpleasant surprise like he already gave to Robbie McEwen. And with plenty of room for the fastmen in about ten stages, Cadamuro will be certainly given the possibility to make his name known also to non-hardcore cycling fans.
Simone Cadamuro – De Nardi
Other De Nardi guys to look out for may be Graziano Gasparre, Ruggero Borghi, Igor Pugaci and Gasparre in particular, as the man was stage winner at Settimana Coppi & Bartali in late March, and managed a top 3 finish in a Tour of Trentino stage. He was also 8th in another leg of this same contest, and even won the “Hot Spot Sprints” competition, so the boy is definitely doing well. The 33-year-old Borghi showed some recent form at last week-end’s GP Industria & Artigianato Larciano, where he captured a top 3 finish, and Giro di Toscana, that saw him as good sixth place getter, so don’t write him off (as possible protagonist in some of the stages, not as overall contender of course).
Graziano Gasparre – De Nardi
Neither Pugaci nor Giordani had outstanding results so far this season, but the Moldovan is an accomplished rider you may always expect good things from, while the man from Rome clinched the World Title as Under 23 in 1999, so he must not be that bad. Furthermore, his 16th place finish at last Sunday’s Giro della Toscana showed that his condition is getting better as the Giro start is nearing. As for the two other Giro riders, neopro Alessandro Vanotti, at his first time at the “Corsa Rosa”, had two excellent Top 10 finishes at Tour de Langkawi in February, but nothing else since, while Michele Gobbi of Vicenza, Italy, finished 22nd in his favourite race, Milan-San Remo, and got a few similar results in other events so far this year, despite showing some attacking attitude sometimes, like at Tirreno-Adriatico. They could be two of the riders belongingto the aforementioned “early breakaway” kind .
De Nardi’s complete team roster (with backnumbers) for the 87th Giro d’Italia is as follows:
- 61. HONCHAR, Serhiy (Ukraine)
- 62. BORGHI, Ruggero (Italy)
- 63. CADAMURO, Simone (Italy)
- 64. GASPARRE, Graziano (Italy)
- 65. GIORDANI, Leonardo (Italy)
- 66. GOBBI, Michele (Italy)
- 67. PUGACI, Igor (Moldova)
- 68. VANOTTI, Alessandro (Italy)
- 69. WEGELIUS, Charles (Great Britain)