Saunier Duval-Scott will be led by Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli at the 91st Giro d'Italia, starting this Saturday. The team will arrive in Palermo for Italian race tomorrow evening, where it will be looked after by team managers Pietro and Matteo Algeri.
The two directeur sportifs are confident that Riccò has recovered from illness that hampered his Spring Classic efforts. The Italian has spent the past week training in the Dolomites ahead of his home Grand Tour.
"Riccardo has recovered from the bronchial problems that affected him in the classics," confirmed Pietro. "We hope he'll be blessed with fine weather so that he can get even better. His goals? Stepping up to the podium."
Once the team arrives in Palermo on Wednesday it will spend the rest of the week training together ahead of the race. The only surprise in the outfit's roster for the event is the inclusion of neo-pro Ermanno Capelli. The rider will replace Manuele Mori, who hasn't yet recovered from a knee injury.
"Astana's late-minute invite will make things harder, as they're a very strong team," admitted Pietro. "But Riccardo will try hard and have a successful Giro d'Italia, I'm sure. Piepoli will focus on high-mountain stages, and our other riders make up a balanced team who can work for the leaders and also notch up stage wins."
Giro organiser RCS Sport announced on the weekend that Astana would contest the Grand Tour, having been overlooked in the original lineup. Astana had been left out of the Italian event, as well as all of Tour de France organiser ASO's races. Despite the original snub, RCS Sport changed its mind on the outfit, which has proven to be the team to beat in 2008.
Saunier Duval-Scott Giro d'Italia roster: Eros Capecchi, David Cañada, Iker Camaño, José Alberto Benítez, Raivis Belohvosciks, Luciano Pagliarini, Leonardo Piepoli, Riccardo Riccò and Ermanno Capelli.