Emmanuele Sella is back at the Giro d’Italia where he won three stages and the king of the mountain jersey in 2008 before testing positive for EPO several months later. He’s been overlooked as a favourite, with Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali taking the spotlight but he refers it that way, knowing he could emerge as a contender in the mountains.
“I prefer it that way,” the Androni Giocattolii rider told Cyclingnews at the team presentation in piazza Castello in Turin. “I prefer to be forgotten. It might help me later in the race.”
While Spanish climbers Joaquim Rodriguez, Igor Anton and Astana team leader Roman Kreuziger are highly rated, Sella should probably be taken into consideration after his results from the early part ot his season. He was third overall at the Tour de Langkawi, fifth at the Giro di Sardegna, second at the Clasica Sarda, he won the Settimana Coppi & Bartali, was second at the Giro dell’Appennino and second (in the same time as Kreuziger) in the queen stage of the Giro del Trentino at Madonna di Campiglio. Not many of the climbers of the Giro have been so consistent before the start in Turin.
“For me, this is a nice Giro, a very hard one,” Sella said. “I’m fit and I’ve demonstrated that I'm fit, so I hope to get some good result. The atmosphere of the Giro is great. I’m not worried. I’m aware of what I can do. I’ll probably wait for the end of the first week to see how my form really is, then I’ll figure out if I should go for GC or try to win a stage or more.”
The little rider from the Veneto region is particularly looking forward to the three gruelling mountain stages in the Dolomites. “There are near my home town and in three-week race, people mostly remember the mountain stages,” he said.
In support of the no needle policy
Sella was also quick to support the “no needle policy” put in place by the UCI in time for the Giro d'Italia. “It demonstrates that cycling is going on the right direction,” he said. “It’s a good thing for our sport.”
Sella had his ban reduced to one year because he cooperated with the anti-doping authorities and helped investigators. Last year he returned to racing with the small, now defunct, CarmioOro team before moving to Androni Giocattoli.
The team is paced with climbers, including José Rujano and José Serpa. However the winner of Tour de Langkawi, neo-pro Yonatha Monsalve, is not riding in Italy and instead is part of the Venezuelan national team for the Panamerican Games.