Two time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni was the star of the show at Saunier Duval-Prodir's presentation in Milano last week. Simoni has been signed by the team from Lampre-Caffita as a top grand tour rider, with his sights being set on the Giro d'Italia once more.
"Yes, I was second last year in the Giro and it was disappointing at the time, but in the end, it's not that big of a deal," said Simoni. "This is a good team with lots of young riders. It will be a tough Giro with the start in Belgium and then all the climbs are concentrated in the last week... Changing teams is a big motivation for me and working with Pietro Algeri is good, too."
The second big name to join Saunier Duval is 28 year-old Scot David Millar, who is suspended until June 28 for admitting to EPO use, but is determined to make a clean comeback. "I have a responsibility toward cycling to come back to the sport better than I was before, with a good, clear voice to give merit to this beautiful sport," said Millar. "I'm very lucky this team is so welcoming. They've given me a second chance, which is something very rare these days."
With Simoni and Millar on board, as well as Brazilian sprinter Luciano Pagliarini, Canadian Charles Dionne, and American Aaron Olson, Saunier Duval-Prodir will be looking to improve on its seventh placing in the 2005 ProTour teams classification, including a win in the Clasica San Sebastian.