After the disappointment in late 2005 of SonyEricsson, it could be the time for Giancarlo Ferretti to return. The former Team Manager of Fassa Bortolo has been at the Tirreno-Adriatico where it has been discovered that he may be putting a team together for 2008.
Ferretti, or the 'Iron Sergeant,' has been head of some amazing squads in the past. Ferretti has been a beloved and feared mentor for many big names in cycling. Rolf Sorensen, Pascale Richard, Gianni Bugno, Johan Museeuw, Paolo Bettini, Gilberto Simoni, Ivan Basso and Alessandro Petacchi have all been shaped by his leadership.
Ferretti is currently at the Tirreno-Adriatico as a consultant for Weber, part of the Saint Gobain group, based near Modena. The company, who produces building adhesives, rivals to companies Mapei and Fassa Bortolo, sent Ferretti to research the Tirreno as part of its sponsorship of the Giro d'Italia. This May, Weber will be the title sponsor of the newly-reintroduced young rider's jersey. And it is with Weber that Ferretti could return in grand style.
According to Tuttosport, the company will decide in June, based on the Giro experience, if they will sponsor a team for 2008 and beyond. "I am at Tirreno as a representative for Weber," said Ferretti to tuttobiciweb.com. "They are a multinational company that has selected to sponsor three great events; Tirreno-Adriatico, Sanremo and the Giro d'Italia. I am joining along with this company in its first pass in the world of cycling; trying to illustrate the potential of this sport and to make it understood what has to be done to have a team.
"Certainly I would be happy if this venture brought forth a new team but it is another discussion and premature. The heads of Weber have decided for this first pass at cycling sponsorship, and only after will they evaluate and decide if and how to prolong their involvement."
What riders would Ferretti consider? According to Tuttosport, the top picks would be Danilo Di Luca and Daniele Bennati, followed by Alessandro Ballan and Luca Paolini. The next selection of riders could likely come from Riccò Riccardo, winner of stage 3 of Tirreno, Emanuele Sella and Juan Antonio Flecha, Kim Kirchen and Yaroslav Popovych, winner of Paris-Nice stage five. The names considered for general classification leaders are Tyler Hamilton and Cadel Evans.
Like the 'Iron Sergeant' pointed out, this is all "premature" but during the Tirreno, Sanremo and Giro he would surely start making contacts with riders for the possibility of returning in 2008.