After Paolo Savoldelli's impressive comeback to the Giro d'Italia on Saturday, where he earned the maglia rosa rather than taking it for granted from his last year's win, Discover Channel's team director Johan Bruyneel was rather pleased with the Italian's performance. "It's a very important win," Bruyneel told Sportwereld. "Especially mentally for him. And it's also important for our main sponsor - since Lance Armstrong left, there has been a lot of talk about this Giro which we won already last year. On the first day of a Grand Tour since the Tour de France 2005, there's one of us in the leader's jersey again."
The Belgian team director even compared Savoldelli to the seven-times Tour de France winner. "The time that Paolo made (over his rivals) in those 6.2 kilometres made me think of the way in which Lance used to ride," he continued. "But even a victory such as this one doesn't mean anything for the evolution of a tour. It is only the beginning now."
Bruyneel signed Savoldelli in 2004, after he'd spent two rather unsuccessful seasons at Team Telekom/T-Mobile. "I wanted to take him to US Postal already in 2001, but the deal didn't work out," the Belgian added. "Paolo is a top rider whose lifetime objective is the Giro d'Italia. I think that the Tour de France would suit him even better than the Giro, but he is Italian wholeheartedly..."