By Gregor Brown
Andrea Tafi – winner of the 2002 Ronde van Vlaanderen and 1999 Paris-Roubaix – is making his debut as a team manager this year with GS Mastromarco. The Italian from Lamporecchio (Toscana) retired from racing in 2005, but he will pursue his cycling interests with the under 23 and amateur team, which is currently training in Sicily.
"I am approaching this new experience with my feet on the ground and with humility," said 'The Gladiator' of the new collaboration.
He pointed out the team's link to the Italian company Mapei, which sponsored the professional team for which he raced from 1994 to 2002, and which will appear as Mapecrete on the team's kits. "On our jerseys is a brand name of historical importance, one that has always left his mark in cycling. It will be up to all of the athletes and staff to give them the honour they merit. All of us together will try to show the image of clean cycling where the results are achieved exclusively from love and self sacrifice in this spectacular sport."
The team organized by President Malucchi Bruno is currently in Siracusa (Sicily) for a training camp that is scheduled to end on January 19. The riders are enjoying the warmer weather while trying out some of their new material, such as bicycles from Scott.
The riders will make their season debut with the Firenze-Empoli, February 23.
The riders: Basso Stefano (Elite 01/01/1985), Benito Braconi (Elite 11/12/1984), Salvatore Dorio (Elite 25/08/1985), Gabriele Orizzonte (Elite 27/11/1984), Stefano Borchi (Under 23 09/03/1987), Manuele Caddeo (Under 23 02/03/1986), Damiano Caruso (Under 23 12/10/1987), Mariano Fichera (Under 23 11/04/1986), Fausto Lavore (Under 23 04/07/1988), Matteo Scaroni (Under 23 06/11/1987), Luciano Birindelli (Under 23 23/02/1986), Marco De Castagnori (Under 23 06/02/1986), Alessandro Cantone (Under 23 14/07/1987), Alexander Fadeev (Under 23 14/03/1988), Maicol Bianconi (Under 21 02/06/1989), Matteo Giuntoli (Under 21 20710/89), Mirko Puccioni (Under 21 04/11/1989), Andrea Zanetti (Under 21 29/06/1989) and Gianluca Dorio (Under 21 06/02/1989)
Directeur Sportifs: Giuseppe Di Fresco, Carlo Franceschi and Roberto Boldrini