Gianni Savio is back at races as team manager of the Androni Giocattoli team after a minor heart attack.
The charming Italian from Turin was at the Coppa Sabatini on Thursday and at the Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday to ensure Androni Giocattoli wins the Coppa Italia team competition for yet another year and so secure an automatic invitation to the 2013 Giro d’Italia. Androni Giocattoli has 714 points, with Colnago-CSF Inox second with 661 points.
“I had a heart attack but it was a little heart attack. Fortunately there wasn’t any heart damage so I’m back at 100%. I had to miss the world championships for the first time in 27 years but the doctors gave me the ok to be at the final races of the Italian season,” he told Cyclingnews.
Savio will travel to Venezuela in November in the hope of securing back-uo for a possible WorldTour team in 2014. He already has 14 riders under contract for 2013 but confirms that sprinter Roberto Ferrari and Tour of Langkawi winner Jose Serpa will both move to Lampre-Merida. Jose Rujano has also moved on yet again and will try his luck with Vacansoleil in 2013.
“Ferrari had a good offer from Lampre and so I agreed to let him go,” Savio said. “I still think we’ve got a good team with Franco Pellizotti, Emanuele Sella as leaders and some other solid riders like Francesco Reda, Riccardo Chiarini, Marco Frapporti and Alessandro Malaguti.”
Italian cycling is struggling to compete at the highest level due to a lack of major sponsors. Savio is in favour of some kind of economical fair play rules, with team budgets limited as they are in some other sports. However he is realistic about the current generation of Italian riders.
“Italian is going through a moment of transition and it’s a very complex picture,” he said. “Italy still has some good riders but Nibali is the only one who is exceptional, even if he can do even better.”
“The lack of sponsors makes it difficult for Italian teams to compete against the likes of Sky, Astana and BMC. We can’t programme our investments or plan for the long term like they can. Look at BMC, they have funding from Andy Rihs – who I’ve read in the media, is the biggest tax contributor in Switzerland. How can we compete with that?