Article by Bart Hazen, photos by Frank Heinrich,
Juan Manuel Garate
Juan Manuel Garate was born on 24 March 1976 in Irun. He became pro in 2000 with Lampre and rode for that team till the end of
2004. After that he joined Saunier Duval together with his teammates Marco
Pinotti and Manuel Quinziato. Garate is a rider who can ride very well in the
mountains and has a good time-trial as well.
The best efforts in his career
where the stage win in the Vuelta in 2001, the stage win in the Tour de Suisse
and Giro del Trentino in 2002 and a 4th and 10th position
in the final ranking of the Giro (2002 & 2004). In that case 2002 was a really
good year for him. In 2005 it’s not going that well so far with Juamma. His best
result is the 5th position overall in the Ruta del Sol. In this race
he won also the mountains competion and the Metas Volantes ranking.
the Ruta till the beginning of the Tour of Romandy it was not going well. He was
ill and his fitness level was not that good but in Romandy he showed that his
level is growing and growing. So hopefully for Saunier he will be in good shape
for the 2005 Giro and to compete for a top 10 overall ranking.
Joaquim Rodriguez was born on 12 May 1979
in Barcelona. He became pro in 2001 with ONCE. In 2004 he joined Saunier Duval
where he is still riding for, of course. Joaquim is a very good promising rider
who can climb well. He is also quite fast in smaller groups. So far he has 3
victories; in 2003 a stage in Paris-Nice and a stage in the Vuelta D’Espana. And
in 2004 he won the final ranking of the Setmana Catalana. As you see, he’s a
rider for the stage races. In 2005, in his 2nd season, at Saunier Duval
he was 12th in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and 4th in the
Klassika Primavera. He showed in the last weeks that his condition is very good.
In the Giro he will be one of the teamleaders against Juan Manuel Garate.
Angel "Litu" Gomez
Angel “Litu” Gomez was born on 13 May 1981 in Torrelavega. 2004 was his first year as a professional and he started with
Saunier Duval. So far he has no remarkable results
(although some good ranks at the Trofeos on Mallorca this year) but he is
more a climber then a sprinter. In the coming Giro d’Italia he will be there as
a helper for the team. By the way, Angel “Litu” Gomez is not related to the
other Gomez (Gomez Marchante) who is also riding with Saunier Duval.
Marco Pinotti was born on 25 February 1976 in Osio Sotto. He turned pro in
1999 with Lampre and rode there till the end of 2004. Since the beginning of
2005 he has ridden for the Spanish Saunier Duval team of Mauro Gianetti. At the
age of 29 Marco will start for the first time in his career in the Tour of his
own country. He rode several times the Tour de France and Vuelta but the Giro he
has not ridden before. So therefore it was a good choice from him to change teams.
Marco is a good rider against the clock and isn’t a bad climber as well. So far
in his career he has won 3 races. He won the GP Europa with Belohvosciks in 1999, he
won a stage in the Tour de Pologne in 2000 and won a stage in the Vuelta a Pais
Vasco in 2003. So far in 2005 he rode a good Tirreno-Adriatico and a very good
Tour de Georgia. In the Tirreno he was 5th in the 5th
stage and was also 5th in the mountains competition. But in the Tour
de Georgia he was 3rd in the 4th stage, 6th in
the 5th stage to Brasstowns Bald and finished 7th and
first non American rider in the Final Ranking of this tour. In the coming Giro
he will get a free role. His ambitions are trying to gain a stage and riding well
in the 2 time-trials.
There is maybe a nice fact to tell as well. This week
there is published a book of Marco in the Netherlands. The title is called
“Verlangen naar de Giro” (Translated “Looking forward to the Giro”). The book is
made by Gijs Zandbergen who came in contact with Marco through me. So far
the book is only published in the Dutch language.
Francisco Ventoso was born on 6 May 1982 in Reinosa.
In 2004 he became professional with Saunier Duval where he is still riding for.
Francisco is more a sprinter and won already 2 races. All of them in his first
year as a professional. He is a young promising rider. He won the first stage
in the Tour of Qatar and the Wachovia USPRO Championships. His best effort so
far in the 2005 season is a 2nd place in the 5th stage of
the Vuelta a la Communidad Valenciana and was 4th in the Trofeo Luis
Puig. For Ventoso it will be his first Grand Tour in his career. His ambitions
are to learn a lot and to do well in the sprints. I’m sure he will succeed in
Oliver Zaugg was born 9 May 1981 in Ledig (Switzerland). 2004 was his first year as a
pro with Saunier Duval where he is still riding. Oliver is a young promising
rider for the mountains. In 2004 as well as in 2005 he rode a good Tour de
Romandie. He gets better and better in the last part of a stage race. Expect something from Oliver in the last week of the Giro when the mountains are
coming. For Oliver it will be his 2nd Grand Tour in his career. Last
year he rode the Giro too and finished 47th at almost 1h30 off Cunego.
As you see the Saunier Duval team for the Giro consists of very young promising
riders. His ambitions in the Giro are to do well in some stages and to help
Garate and Rodriguez for the general classification.
Manuele Mori was born on 9 August 1980 in Empoli. He turned pro for a half
year in 2002 with the Perutnina team before he went back to the espoirs in 2003.
In 2004 he joined Saunier Duval where he is still riding. His best efforts
so far are the 9th rank in Paris-Bruxelles in 2004 and the 10th
place in Milan-SanRemo in 2005. Further he was 16th in the Fleche
Wallonne and rode several times in the top 10 in stages of the Tirreno-Adriatico.
Manuele can climb very well and has a good sprint. It will be his 2nd
Giro D’Italia, last year he rode this GT too and finished 76th at
2h09 of winner Cunego. His ambitions in this Giro will be trying to gain a stage
and ride well for the team.
Juan Jose Cobo Acebo
Juanjo was born on 11 February 1981 in Torrelavega. He became pro in 2004 with
the Saunier Duval team. Juanjo is a rider who can do well in time trials because
he was Spanish champion in this discipline in 2003 in the U23 category. Also he
is a very good helper for in several parts of a race. He can help Ventoso in the
sprints and help others in the mountains. I
In his pro career so far he hasn't had
any remarkable results, but in the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia he
showed that he is in good shape and can help the team very well. His ambitions
in the coming Giro are to finish the race and to work for the team. It will be
his first experience in the Grand Tours, just like "Litu" Gomez.
Juanjo Cobo Acebo.
Ruben Lobato was born on 1 September 1978 in San
Sebastian de los Reyes. He turned pro in 2002 with the Acqua & Sapone team. In
2003 he rode for Domina Vacanze before joining the Saunier Duval team. In his
career he has no wins so far, other than the mountains competition in the Tour
of Romandie of this year. Further his best efforts are a lot of top 10 ranks in
some one-day races like the Coppa
Placci, GP Kanton Aargau, GP Lugano and in the
Vuelta Asturias. He also rode the Giro d’Italia for Saunier last year where he
finished 16th, at about 21 minutes behind Cunego. He was also 5th
in the 11th stage of this Giro and finished also 15th in
the final ranking of the Tirreno-Adriatico.
In 2005 he was the best in the
mountains competition of the Tour de Romandie, as I said in the beginning. Ruben can ride very well in the mountains and can ride a good
classification as well. He is an very attacking style rider, just like Pinotti, so I’ll
guess that’s very attractive for the audience. His ambitions for the Giro might
be the Mountains competition and trying to win a stage win, perhaps.