Liquigas Bianchi – Tour de France Squad
Liquigas-Bianchi To The Tour de France With a "Four-Wheel Drive":- 21/06/2005
Garzelli, Cioni, Pellizotti, and Backstedt - General Manager Amadio says: «We're going to leave a mark on the Tour»
Liquigas-Bianchi with a "four-wheel drive" is about to take part in the Tour de France: a strong and united team to face any kind of race route. The team features: Stefano Garzelli, Dario David Cioni, Franco Pellizotti, Magnus Backstedt, Luciano Pagliarini, Michael Albasini, Kjell Carlstrom, Mauro Gerosa, and Marcus Ljungqvist. Patrick Calcagni is the first reserve.
«I'm sure we will leave a mark on the Tour,» says General Manager Roberto Amadio who will lead the team together with Dario Mariuzzo and Roberto Damiani. «Indeed, the group is well-balanced and is ready to fight for victory in all the stages. Moreover, Stefano Garzelli and Dario David Cioni are going to climb the overall ranking. The rider from Varese, who is back from an unlucky Giro d'Italia, is especially longing for revenge.»
Liquigas Bianchi had a great giro with Di Luca finishing in fourth spot and the Team winning the “Fast Team competition” – picture by Fabio
How ever one rider who has other goals than the Tour de France is Danilo Di Luca.
The Killer has : "Just One Goal: the Pro Tour"-
Talking on the Liquigas Bianchi website Di Luca talks of his sadness regarding the death of Alessio Galletti, how the pink jersey has affected his life , his willingness to ride for Petacchi in Madrid , and even his thoughts on the Tour de France .
His first words are for Alessio Galletti who died tragically last week:
"We have been team-mates for two years. He was such a joyful and lively man, a true team-man and an indispensable rider for the strategies of the team. I'm sad about his death and I'm by his wife Consuelo, their little son, their relatives I know them all and I can just imagine how much they are suffering."
Talking about cycling in such a sad moment is not easy at all. Danilo Di Luca got in the saddle again only on Monday, 13 June: "My plan was to ride the bicycle again two weeks after the end of the Giro d'Italia (but for a couple of circuits). I started to train again with a quiet 70-km ride. Since yesterday I've been training in earnest..."
Well, the Giro two stage wins, five days wearing the pink jersey, a great performance, you crossed the terrible Colle delle Finestre in first spot and ranked fourth overall What has changed?
"As far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed. I'm still the same man. On the contrary, something has changed around me. The Giro d'Italia makes you very popular. I mean, one month ago I was known mainly by cycling lovers; now I happen to be stopped in the street by children and housewives as well."
How did you spend the two weeks after the Giro?
"I didn't rest completely. But apart from Criteriums, I didn't get on the bike, that's true. However, I couldn't disappoint those who asked me a little bit of attention and time. Several parties (the nicest one in my Spoltore where the mayor invited 4,000 people in the main square), some evenings with my friends, a glance at the last adjustments of my new house in Pescara and, of course, all the time my wife deserves"
Have you watched the videos of the Giro yet?
"Last week I watched on TV a part of the climb of the Colle delle Finestre. That's all. When you are living special moments you don't really realize what you're doing"
Did you like yourself?
"Let's say I felt good"
If you could rewind that moment and live it once again, would you follow the same tactic?
Yes, I would. I'd change just one thing: I'd pedal more in the descent so as not to be seized with a cramp
Some people say the Tour - the most important and famous race in the world - isn't so beautiful and exciting as the Giro d'Italia.
"I agree. The Giro is the most beautiful race, the Tour the most esteemed one."
When are you going to come back to races?
"On 31 July, in Hamburg."
What are your plans for next month and a half?
"Hard training and serenity. I'd like to stay at home, but if the weather is very hot, I'll spend a period in the mountains. Not in Mexico, Roccaraso would be all right."
Di Luca, gets some help from Moser with the Pro Tour leaders jersey – picture by Fast Fingers Fabio
Cyclassics Hamburg is already a Pro Tour race: do you expect to be in top condition on the very day of your comeback to races?
"No, I don't. I won't be in top form and it's pretty unlikely I'll fight for the win. Things wouldn't change very much even if I came back racing one week earlier: the riders coming back from the Tour would take their advantage. In Hamburg I'm going to score some useful points, maybe by entering the group of the first ten men. I need to be at my best in San Sebastian, in the Deutschland Tour and in September's Tour de Pologne. Scoring some points in those race could allow me to relax."
Have you already known the details of those races?
"The time trial on the climb at the Tour de Pologne is said to be a tough one"
You sound particularly confident
"Of course, I am. If I'm able to keep constantly a high performing level, I'll be able to conquer the Pro Tour even without winning as long as the race season has ended. After all, I scored six prestigious wins this years. I'd be very happy if the seventh win was the Pro Tour leader's jersey at the end of the Giro di Lombardia..."
The World Championships in Madrid are told to be suitable for sprinters. That's no business of yours. However, the National Italian team's jersey is always charming Have you ever thought about it?
"Yes, but I'm not too worried about it. The route doesn't fit my qualities: the National team should support Petacchi. I'd be very glad to help Alessandro, if Ballerini wanted. If not, it wouldn't be a problem."
Let's take a glance to the upcoming Tour de France. Will Armstrong have all the advantages on his side?
"Lance is the favourite rider but I bet on Jan Ullrich too, though he made a false step in the Tour de Suisse. I think this year the German will make things difficult to Armstrong. It will be a great challenge..."
"I hope he will perform excellently but I'm not sure about it. Fighting against opponents who aim only at the Tour is not easy at all".
Di Luca, in action in the Giro 2005 as the peloton hits the south-western Lombard town of Ottobiano – picture by Fast Fingers Fabio