Liberty Seguros-Würth, like other teams, has been reconnoitring the prologue course on the day prior to the Giro d'Italia's opening stage. Giampaolo Caruso will take the start of his second Giro full of ambition, having trained more than ever and visited all the mountain stages of the race. Caruso said that it will be the hardest Giro of recent years, even though he has only participated in the event once before.
"Yes, but I know the Giro well because in Italy this race is the most important and we all follow it very much," he said. "Watching it on TV, I have always tried to picture myself in the middle of the pack to know it best." For this year's quest of the maglia rosa however, the Italian also got acquainted with the parcours in reality. "I know all the important stages: Monte Catria, Mortirolo, Plan de Corones, San Pellegrino and Mount Bondone," Caruso continued. "I didn't need to see the second time trial, because is in Tuscany and I have trained enough in the area."
The Liberty Seguros rider has prepared for many kilometres of climbing. "Last year, there were about 22,000 meters if altitude difference to master during the race, but this year there are approximately 26,000 meters," Caruso added. "In the Mortirolo stage alone, there will be 5,000 meters, which is tremendous. Plan de Corones will be the Queen stage, but I believe that more differences will be made in the Mortirolo and the San Pellegrino. The whole world is afraid of the Plan de Corones, but I believe that there, using a gear like 34x29, it won't be possible to make many differences. It reminds me of the year with the Zoncolan, when they prepared a mountain bike for Cipollini to climb it. It may well be that a sprinter will end up doing the same thing this year." Therefore, Caruso said, the Giro was going to be a pure climbers' game.
"There are two time trials and Basso brings a great team for the team time trial, but a climber can change everything in the last week," he said. "Last year we already saw that if there had been one more day of mountains, the victory would have gone to Simoni instead of Savoldelli." Caruso sees Gilberto Simoni as being the climber best suited for the race. "Simoni is the one with most experience - he knows each kilometre of the race and is the bravest on the bike. I believe that the winner will be the one who can suffer most, and Simoni has already demonstrated that he may lose a little time but he never fails."
As for himself, Caruso will be at the service of team leader Michele Scarponi, but still aims at a good GC placing. "My objective is to improve my placing of last year (16th)," he added. "I will try to finish in Top 10 and if there is a possibility of wining a stage, I will of course go for it. But I know that talking is easy now; it won't be the same in a couple of weeks!"
Asked who he would like to resemble, Caruso replied," Pantani. If he was here still, they could give him the pink jersey already before the start and everything would be easier."