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Tour de France Team Saeco Preview
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 7/3/2004
Tour de France Team Saeco Preview

Saeco for the Tour de France
No Di Luca: Loosli takes his place
The Team Saeco formation that will start the 2004 Tour de France on Saturday July 3 will be made up of: Gilberto Simoni, Stefano Casagranda, Mirko Celestino, Salvatore Commesso, Gerrit Glomser, Jorg Ludewig, Evgueni Petrov, Marius Sabaliauskas and David Loosli.

The directeur sportifs will be Giuseppe Martinelli e Guido Bontempi.
Danilo Di Luca was originally selected for the race and travelled to Liege but will not now start the race.
Against its wishes Team Saeco has had to take note of the desire of the race organisers not to allow the participation of Di Luca, believing that his recent involvement in a judicial enquiry about doping could create problems for the race.
In a meeting held this morning in Liege, the director of the Tour de France Jean Marie Leblanc confirmed to Di Luca and Saeco team manager Claudio Corti the line adopted by the organisers and the decision not to allow him to start the Tour on Saturday. With this Team Saeco has had to accept the decision and insert David Loosli into the team.
Liege, July the 1st 2004


I received this press release from the fine people of Saeco yesterday. In terms of the internet it is already old news.

At any rate this act of removing a rider who is “under investigation” is distasteful to me. When the organizer of a race acts as sole arbiter based not on allegations, recorded charges, a guilty determination by a judge or jury, but simply on the mention that the authorities are investigating a person, is at best specious reasoning in my opinion. I look forward to days in the future that such arbitraries are not applied to the sport. Saeco is to be commended for handling it with class.

But then again there is a race tomorrow, a rather significant race and Saeco is coming with guns both Young Guns and Journeymen, enough to make their presence felt and make the next three weeks damn exciting for all of us cycling fans. Saeco was prominent in the Spring races, in fact when searching the Daily Peloton data base under Saeco the search engine returned 1159 entries!

Gilberto Simoni two time winner of the Giro and third this year,has recently commented on his goals and preparation for this years tour. So pump up your Saeco espresso machine and toast the boys in red.

Two years ago Lance Armstrong noted that he considered Gilberto Simoni as his number one threat, alas the match was never made. Last year, Simoni arrived at the tour sick, and suffered through until he grabbed a stage win in the Pyrenees, winning some well deserved vindication.

When asked, how is this years Tour different for you compared to last year. When you had triumphed at the Giro and had clear ambitions to do well in the overall?
Gilberto replied, “I’m still convinced I’ve got the right characteristics to be a contender at the Tour. Naturally the experience of last year taught me a lot and I’m trying to use it all this year.”

Your objectives?
Gilberto S: “I’m going to start the race quietly and prudently. I’m going to wait to see what happens in the team time trial and then day after day I’ll try and understand what I can do”.

After the Giro you pointed out that you were not as mentally tired as last year.
Gilberto S: ”I can’t deny it and I think it could be an important factor in the final part of the Tour. In the key moments of the race, when things get really hard, I think I’ll have something left to give.”

Are you happy with your training and preparation for the Tour?
Gilberto S: “I haven’t raced since the Giro except for a few criteriums, so I can’t really know how well I’m going. However, I spent 10 days in Maloia in Switzerland with my family and I’ve done a very careful final build up for the Tour”
Who is your favourite for the Tour?
”Lance Armstrong”

Many people believe his Tour could be affected for many different reasons?
Gilberto: ”I know people who saw Lance training on the Mortirolo and so I think differently. He knows what he wants”
What does Simoni want?
Gilberto: ”To be in the action, to fight on equal terms with the best; because I’ve got the conviction to know that I’m up to it. I’d like to get some results just as I did last year when I won the stage in the Pyrenees, but this year I want to do it without losing sight of the overall classification.”

What worries you most about this year’s Tour?
Gilberto: ”The heat. If it is as hot as last year and the temperature suddenly rises during the Tour it could seriously affect the race. So far this year we’ve raced in pretty unusual conditions (Colder Spring weather) and a lot of riders would seriously be affected by a big change in temperature.”

Simply put Gilberto believes in his ability to be a player in this years tour; we will only know as the tour plays out in the next three weeks. The team he brings has already has shown it’s form in the Spring races, and many of the names will be familiar to cycling fans for frequenting the top sections of race results and in animating races.

Gilberto Simoni
(Palù di Giovo, Italy)
August 25, 1971
UCI Rank 36
2003: 1st (3rd stage Giro d'Italia); 2nd Stage 2 Giro del Trentino; 2nd  Stage 19 Giro d'Italia, 3 Overall Classification Giro d'Italia, 3rd General Classification Giro del Trentino, 4 Stage18 Giro d'Italia, 5 Giro dell'Appennino;

Stefano Casagranda: (Borgo Valsugana, Italy)
March 23, 1973
UCI Rank: 835

Mirko Celestino: (Alme, Italy)
March 19, 1974
UCI Rank: 25
2004: 1 (Stage 2 Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi & Bartali), 2 G.C. Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi & Bartali, 4 Stage 5 Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi & Bartali,
Salvatore Commesso  (San Paolo d'Argon, Italy)
March 28, 1975
UCI Rank: 625
2004: Second, 4th stage Tour of Georgia, 4 Stage 7 Course de la Paix, 5 Stage 3 Course de la Paix;

Gerrit Glomser:(Salisburg, Austria)
April 1, 1974
UCI Rank: 315
2004: 1 Stage 4 Tour of Austria, 3 Stage 2 Tour de Romandie, 3 Stage 3 Tour of Austria, 5 Stage 5 Vuelta a Aragon.

Jorg Ludewig: (Steinhagen, Germany)
September 9, 1975

Evgueni Petrov: (Kemerovskaja, Russia)
May 25, 1978
UCI Rank: 197
2004: Evgueni is in fine form finishing fourth in the recent tour de Suisse only 22 seconds behind Jan Ullrich. Earlier this year a 5th on G.C. in the Vuelta Murcia, and 4th on Stage 9 of the Tour de Suisse. Impressive for a 25 year old rider who is only in his third year as a Pro; Martinelli has an eye for the Young Guns!

Marius Sabaliauskas: (Kaunas, Lithuania)
November 15, 1978
UCI Rank 158
3rd TEAG Rund m die Hainleite.

David Loosli (Switzerland)
May 8, 1980
UCI Rank 625
1 Stage 8 Course de la Paix.

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