One of the (not so few) GS2 teams in the Giro d’Italia startlist, Italy’s Tenax will have close to the whole team at the startline of the first Grand Tour of the year: indeed the squad is made up of 13 riders only, nine of which will be at Genoa. Unlike other minor Italian teams (Miche, Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli and notably Team LPR-Piacenza Management) they managed to get a “wild-card” for the Giro, and no doubt they’ll try everything to prove Carmine Castellano’s decision right.
The full roster of the Italian GS2 squad. Courtesy Team Tenax
The main suspect to accomplish that task is Slovenia’s Zoran Klemencic
, a sprinter that came close to grab a medal at 2002 Worlds in Zolder, where he finishedfourth in the bunch sprint, behind the likes of Cipollini, McEwen and Erik Zabel. A professional rider since 1999, the 28-year-old from Ljublijana was capable of two stage wins at this year’s Jadranska Magistrala race in Croatia this year, one of them being the Prologue Time Trial! This doesn’t make him one of the favourites to win the Genoa race against the clock too, but sure Klemencic, that made the Top 10 four more times in Italian races (and nowhere else) so far this year can have something to say in the Giro sprints. Maybe just the way he did in his best season (2001), when he came close to victory no less than thrice.
Klemencic will have fellow countrymen Dean Podgornik beside to help him. Podgornik moved to Tenax from the Slovenian team Perutnina Ptuj at the end of the past season, and he’s at his first Giro d’Italia too. His 2003 tally includes four wins in Balkan races, while this year’s tally … might begint at the Giro itself. Big “might” anyway,
The team’s most experienced rider is Italian Nicola Loda. The 33-year-old from Brescia is in his 11th season in the pro ranks, and can count stage wins at GP Midi Libre, Tour of Luxembourg, Tour of the Mediterranean and Danmark Rundt on his palmares, as well as a triumph at the Derka Tour. The former Fassa Bortolo rider, wearing the Tenax Jersey for the first time at the Giro, will no doubt be of help to his younger teammates, but don’t rule out any possibilities that Loda may go for some personal glory; a recent eighth place finish at Giro del Trentino is the sign that the man’s condition is not bad, after all. Another man that could go for some glory is Loda’s fellow Lombard Oscar Pozzi, even if a couple of tenth place finishes at Giro della Provincia di Lucca more than two months ago are his only “good” results so far this season, and this is no positive sign for the Giro.
Worthy of particular mention among other Tenax competitors is 23-year-old Italian Daniele Pietropolli, who hit the headlines (in Italy) many a good times when he still was an amateur rider, also hitting the roster of the Italian National Team at the Zolder World Champs, and hopes to be as successful in the pro ranks he entered a year ago, after being a stagiaire at Fassa Bortolo in late 2001. Bergamasco Renzo Mazzoleni, winner of a Swiss race (Schnyberg Rundfahrt) in the year 2003, is the younger brother of Saeco’s Eddy, one of the best domestiques in the pro peloton. But unlike his brother, that after working for Stefano Garzelli in the past Giro moved to Saeco and will be at Simoni’s service this time, Renzo might be allowed to race for himself and we could hear his name in any breakaways.
More or less the same thing should happen to fairheaded Giancarlo Ginestri, that despite being a neoprofessional is already 25-year-old, and Croatian National Road and ITT Champion Radoslav Rogina, another man at his first time in Italy’s Grand Tour. The roster is completed by Gabriele Bosisio (23) a Lombard neo-pro that we’ll get to know better during the Giro. Bosisio signed with Tenax at the end of 2003, after quite a sucessful season at Team Aurora Named Concorezzo in the amateur ranks, with three wins and a dozen podium places. His participation to the Corsa Rosa will help him gain some useful experience.
The Tenax boys (and their backnumbers) at the 87th Giro d’Italia are (click on the rider names for their photos):