By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Milano, Italy
Domina Vacanze presented its 2005 team at the Domina Genius hotel near Milano's Malpensa airport and the only thing that remained the same from last year's Division 2 team led by Mario Cipollini and this year's ProTour squad led by Serguei Gonchar was the name and the garrulous owner of the Domina Vacanze hotel and travel company, Ernesto Preatoni. New riders, new team management (mostly from the DeNardi-Colpack team) and new bike sponsor Colnago are all hallmarks of the 2005 edition of Domina Vacanze cycling squad.
With an array of cycling personalities present, including former Giro d'Italia winners Gianni Bugno and Gianni Motta, team bike sponsor Ernesto Colnago and former director of La Gazzetta dello Sport Candido Cannavo, Mr. Domina Preatoni is looking "above all" for results.
Preatoni told of how he made the transition from the team run last year by Vincenzo Santoni to one run by Gianlugi Stanga, and he explained that "I wanted to stay in cycling and when our team didn't get selected for the Tour De France last year, I asked my friend Hein Verbruggen [head of the UCI - ed.] who I should work with and he indicated Stanga."
Ernesto Colnago also was pleased with the initial collaboration with the new Domina Vacanze, telling Cyclingnews that "we are happy to be associated with Preatoni, Stanga and Domina Vacanze. This is one of two ProTour teams we will sponsor in 2005 along with Rabobank and I look forward to some excellent performances from the riders."
Domina Vacanze will count on three key riders to bring home the bacon in 2005. Looking to improve his runner-up spot in the 2004 Giro will be taciturn 34 year-old Ukrainian hardman Serguei Gonchar, while classics man Mirko Celestino will be DV leader for one day races. Sprinter Ivan Quaranta will be the Domina fastman and the exceptionally quick Italian hopes to be competitive at the top level of sprinting again in 2005. Stanga has also added some promising neo-pros to Domina Vacanze, including Andrey Grivko and former Italian and European U23 champ Giovanni Visconti.
For the full Domina Vacanze team roster, click here.