Giro d'Italia countdown: Simoni recons stages
Italian squad lampre-Caffita has announced its line-up at Amstel Gold race on Sunday. Alessandro Ballan, whose pes anserinus tendon at the back of his right knee has been giving him a hard time after Paris-Roubaix, has been confirmed to race. His knee will be treated with rehabilitation therapy using laser and ultrasound. The other riders for Lampre-Caffita are: Gianluca Bortolami, Salvatore Commesso, Gerrit Glomser, David Loosli, Daniele Righi, Gorazd Stangelj and Patxi Vila.
The team will also line up at the 23rd Giro d'Oro to take place this Sunday, April 17. The UCI rated 1.1 race, whose 2005 edition will total 184 km, will serve as preparation for the Giro del Trentino from April 19-22. Lampre's Gilberto Simoni will use both races to shape up for the Giro d'Italia, but not only that. "[The Giro d'Oro] is a really important race at which I will be present with a real wish to do well," he said, looking forward to his return to racing since Setmana Catalana. Lining up with him there will be Enrico Franzoi, Marco Marzano, Andreas Matzbacher, Evgeni Petrov, Marius Sabaliauskas, Michele Scotto d'Abusco and Alessandro Spezialetti.
In the meantime, Simoni has been out to reconnoitre certain Giro d'Italia climbs. "Even if I haven't raced, I have been moving around a lot," he said. "I've seen the time trial of Lamporecchio-Florence and the finish in Pistoia with the climb at Sammomè. The time trial in Florence is equal to the one in Turin. It's not for time trial specialists as the parcours goes through deep valley passes, with both straights and climbs, which make it hard to keep a constant rhythm."
After Florence, "Gibo" Simoni travelled to Ortisei in the Dolomites, where "they told us of the cancellation of the Pordoi passage, taking away the memories of the mountain where I won my first pink jersey [Giro 2001 - ed.]. It will nevertheless be a very important stage," he commented.