Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) has yet to decide if he will ride the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France in 2012, but he has ruled out the possibility of lining up at both races. The Italian cited Alberto Contador’s travails at last year’s Tour as proof of the difficulty of being competitive in back-to-back Grand Tours.
“The question of the choice between the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France remains open, I’m reflecting on it,” Scarponi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I was pleased that the sponsors have given me carte blanche to evaluate my options. What I can say already is that my preparation is based on being at the start of only one of those races.
“Besides, it must mean something if even a champion like my friend Contador has reached the conclusion that doubling up at the Giro and Tour is hardly feasible.”
Scarponi and Contador were teammates at Liberty Seguros in 2005 and 2006, prior to Scarponi’s suspension for his implication in Operacion Puerto.
In spite of his fine run of form in the spring of 2011, Scarponi surprisingly opted to forgo the Ardennes classics in order to concentrate on his Giro preparation. This time around, he is set to make the late April classics a major target of his early season, along with Tirreno-Adriatico, where he is a perennial challenger.
“At the moment I’m working hard with the team at our camp, and my training is pitched at being competitive at Tirreno-Adriatico and in the Ardennes,” Scarponi said.
Although he turned 32 in September, Scarponi is determined to be a part of the Lampre-ISD set-up for years to come, after joining the team from Androni Giocattoli at the beginning of 2010. “I feel good in this team, and in the years to come I’d like to be a point of reference for Lampre-ISD,” he said. “Along with the management, I’m laying the foundations so that this can happen.”
Scarponi’s Lampre-ISD stablemate Damiano Cunego is also at the team’s training camp at San Vincenzo on the Tuscan coast. He will begin his season at the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria on February 11, but has also been working on his time trialling.
“It’s been interesting to have the chance to train on the time trial bike,” he said. “Finding the right balance between position and power is very important, so for that reason I’m happy that I’ve been able to have the TT bike at home, too.”