Gilberto Simoni is determined to win a third Giro d'Italia in 2009. The Italian of Team Diquigiovanni will face younger opponents in what experts consider one of the most hotly contested editions in years.
"I will give it my all, then put my trust in destiny," said Simoni, 37, to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The truth is that I always believed in my legs and head, but not destiny. I have changed this idea. Destiny alone is not enough, you need help. I will try to help it along."
Race organiser RCS Sport will unveil the Giro route, May 9 to 31, this Saturday. It will feature high mountain passes with steep pitches and challenging city-centre finishes, but the list of riders set to attend is impressive. Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France champion, announced his intention to race in October. There are also the likes of Carlos Sastre – the current Tour champion – and past Giro d'Italia winners Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca, Damiano Cunego and Denis Menchov.
Simoni captured his two Giro di Italia wins in 2001 and 2003. He finished 10th behind winner Alberto Contador in this year. Next year, six years after his last win, could be his last chance to obtain a third maglia rosa and join a short list of five triple winners.
"I am not in a hurry; I know that once I am in the saddle I will not get back off of it for eight to ten months. ... I will seek heat in Malaysia, Mexico. Then the [Giro del] Trentino."
Simoni indicated that he will accompany the team's new signee and one-day specialist, Davide Rebellin, to the Ardennes Classics in April. He intends to act as domestique to Rebellin prior to taking up the captain role in the Giro d'Italia.