Danilo Di Luca, winner of the 2007 Giro d'Italia, is returning to competition after a four month winter break. Not racing since the Giro dell'Emilia and serving a three-month suspension in relation to the Oil for Drugs investigation, the 32 year-old rider from Abruzzo has the desire to attach the dossard on his back.
"We covered 600 kilometres in the car and motor-home, from the camp in Terracina a Reggio, but it will be worth it," recalled Di Luca to La Gazzetta dello Sport. He will line up with his LPR Brakes team-mates for the 58th Giro di Reggio Calabria today – a three-stage race in southern Italy.
"This is a race with a long and rich tradition. I personally asked Team Manager Bordonali to open [the season] here and then go to Grosseto [Giro della Provincia di Grosseto, 15-17 - ed.], a valuable course to define your condition."
After Grosseto, Di Luca will race the Trofeo Laigueglia, Monte Paschi Eroica ("The gravel roads fascinate me."), Tirreno-Adriatico and then the Milano-Sanremo.
"At the camp Danilo worked hard and enjoyed himself, helping for a good group," said LPR Brakes' Bordonali. "He has a deep love for the bike."
Some of the riders taking part in Reggio Calabria include Gabriele Balducci, Luca Paolini (Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Daniele Nardello, Santo Anzà (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli), Baden Cooke, Mauricio Soler (Barloworld), Emanuele Sella, Maximiliano Richeze, Luis Felipe Laverde (CSF Group Navigare), Serhiy Honchar (Preti Mangimi).
Stage 1: Reggio Calabria-Gioia Tauro, 183 km
Stage 2: Piana- Chiaravalle, 190 km
Stage 3: Chiaravalle-Reggio Calabria, 168 km