The Italian Acqua & Sapone team has kicked off its preparation for the 2011 season with its first get together in Fondi, near Rome.
The Italian team is ranked 25th in the UCI’s sporting criterion ranking for 2011, the best of the Italian Professional Continental teams, with Stefano Garzelli again set to be team leader.
Classics rider Luca Paolini is set to ride for Astana alongside close friend Filippo Pozzato and Acqua & Sapone has also lost climber Francesco Masciarelli to the Kazakhstan squad. However new signings include Italian sprinter Danilo Napolitano, Carlos Alberto Betancourt of Colombia and Fabio Taborre.
Garzelli won the mountain time trial stage to Plan de Corones at the Giro d’Italia and also won Tirreno-Adriatico but Acqua & Sapone faces a battle to secure an invitation to the Giro d’Italia if all 18 ProTeams are automatically invited to the race.
The riders will undergo physiology testing and health checks during the camp. Franco Gini and Bruno Cenghialta will again be the team’s directeur sportif and work on rider’s race programmes for 2011.