By Gregor Brown
Gilberto Simoni might be riding for Gianni Savio for 2008. The 35 year-old, twice winner of the Giro d'Italia, is talking to the Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia team's general manager who he's known for many years. Simoni's possible departure from Saunier Duval-Prodir has cleared way for 23 year-old Riccò Ricardo to renew his contract through 2010.
Legendary Italian Savio will have the support of Diquigiovanni for the third year next year, with the sponsor willing to up its involvement. The company's increased investment will be partnered by a new co-sponsor in LRC. Details have yet to be finalized according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, but that settlement revolves around technical rather than financial aspects. 'Gibo' is reported to receive €800,000, similar to the amount that he was paid with his current Spanish team.
Diquigiovanni and communication company LRC are looking to bank some extra publicity by having Simoni in the squad. The rider from Palù di Giovo, winner of Monte Zoncolan and fourth overall in the 2007 Giro, wants to have another run at the Giro, while preparing for the Olympic Mountain Bike event.
Simoni has extended his passion for two wheels to mountain biking. He will race today in the Dolomiti Superbike of Villabassa (Bolzano), the second round of the Marathon World Cup.
Riccò, winner of the Giro's Tre Cime di Lavaredo stage and friend of Simoni, has prolonged his contract with Mario Gianetti's Saunier team at an estimated €600,000. The contract, upped greatly from his current €40,000 contract, reportedly includes a table of premiums that would increase his salary. In the event of a Giro victory the figure would reportedly double, while a Tour win would see the numbers increase four fold.