After his teammate Damiano Cunego intimated to Cyclingnews at the weekend that he was likely to line up at the Giro, Scarponi was quick to throw his hat emphatically into the ring.
“I will do the Giro d’Italia,” Scarponi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I was fascinated, attracted, almost seduced by the Tour de France, but the Giro is my race, on my roads, among my people. I’ve shaken off the last doubts and reservations.”
Scarponi stood on the second step of the podium in Milan at the end of last year’s Giro, but was retrospectively awarded the title after his former Liberty Seguros teammate Alberto Contador was stripped of the maglia rosa when he was handed a backdated suspension for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
The Italian was muted in his reaction to his belated Giro title in February. “Contador’s suspension elevated me to being the winner of the 2011 Giro, but I want to win the 2012 Giro on the field,” Scarponi said.
Scarponi puts the finishing touches to his preparation for May at the Giro del Trentino, which gets underway on Tuesday. He won the general classification twelve months ago as he enjoyed a rich vein of spring form. Although he has started 2012 more steadily, Scarponi showcased his condition at the Giro dell’Appennino on Sunday.
“I like the Giro del Trentino, I always have, and I’m here to win it,” Scarponi said. “Compared to last year, I started off the season a bit more quietly – fewer races, more training. I’m feeling good and I had confirmation of that at the Giro dell’Appennino. When I attacked on the Bocchetta, only Pozzovivo and the Colombian Betancur stayed with me.”
Scarponi will have Cunego alongside him in a strong Lampre-ISD line-up in Trentino, but he acknowledged that they might struggle in the opening 14km team time trial on the shores of Lake Garda. Instead, Scarponi has his sights set on the vicious climb of Punta Veleno on Thursday and the finale to the Pordoi on Friday.
“The team time trial isn’t our strength, but it won’t be decisive. I don’t know Punta Veleno, but I do know the Pordoi and I imagine that’s where the difference will be made.”