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Danilo Hondo before the third stage of the Giro d'Italia 2011
German lead out man instrumental in Giro sprint
Danilo Hondo has been fundamental in Lampre-ISD's strong performance (6th) at the inaugural team time trial of the Giro d'Italia and his lead out for Alessandro Petacchi in stage 2 was exemplary. At the age of 37, the German has other things in mind, like his project of creating a team to revive cycling in his country.
Hondo's complicity with Petacchi is really strong. "We've known each other as rivals a long time ago and there was a lot of respect between us", Hondo told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 3 in Reggio d'Emilia. "Three years ago when I was riding for Diquigiovanni-Androni, we spoke about working together. He wanted me at LPR in 2009 but there was no budget left. For me, he's one of the fastest and most complete sprinters. We've put friendship in our relationship with our families and we go around the world. I know him so well that I can understand what's important for him, also after the races. At the end of last year, we went together to California for training and I joined him in Tuscany in January."
At the Presidential Tour of Turkey, Petacchi won the queen stage but lost a few sprints as well. He didn't hide that he was looking forward to have Hondo to lead him out at the Giro. "As I did all the classics, we had a different program", the German said.
In 2009, while riding for Czech team PSK-Whirlpool, Hondo had taken up a role in the marketing side of the team management and he was working on reviving German cycling by involving his long term friend Jan Ullrich in the creation of a big team like Telekom was.
"The project is still running", Hondo said. "But good projects need time to take shape and it's important to keep quiet about them. I have good discussions with companies but I'm waiting for the right moment to start the team. Last year before the world championship we had a gathering with the national team in Cologne and Frankfurt to make the project interesting for all media."
Having faced an early retirement because of a very complicated positive dope test in March 2005, after he came 2nd in Milan-San Remo – behind Petacchi – while he was at the peak of his career. Hondo enjoys performing at such a high level. "I have no stress", he said. "If I like, I can do one, two or three more years as a rider, but whenever my project is ready, I have no problem to stop racing."