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Scarponi finished 2nd in the 2011 Giro d'Italia
Only Contador is stronger than the Italian, say Lampre-ISD colleagues
Lampre-ISD's cyclists have spoken out at their training camp about Michele Scarponi's plans for the 2012 Grand Tours, after team boss Giuseppe Saronni suggested that Scarponi could focus mainly on the Tour de France.
The first comment was by Diego Ulissi, who pointed out that his will is to support his teammate, whatever the target could be.
“I think that the support to a captain, and that could be either Cunego or Scarponi, in view of targets such Giro or Tour is an exciting challenge and a crucial moment for my growth as cyclist,” Ulissi said.
“Michele is evaluating with the proper care where he'll spend his qualities, which are among the best in cycling world, and I know that I'll be able to pedal next to him in the crucial moments of the races. I had some outstanding days in the 2011 Giro so I'd like to live this experience again, but I understand also the will of Michele to try a new challange.”
Alessandro Spezialetti has more experience, having performed in 14 Giros. “The choice of Giro d'Italia or Tour de France needs a deep reflection and it's very interesting,” he said.
“I think that Michele, like any other Italian cyclist, has a strong feeling with the Giro d'Italia: to try to win it is an irresistible temptation. But just because Scarponi has top qualities as athlete, he's very attracted by Tour de France too. In fact, he showed in 2011 that, apart from maybe Contador, he could be better than any other rider for Grand Tours, so I don't understand why he should renounce any option. On a technical side, it's true that the Giro's course suits Scarponi's characteristics very well and that in Grande Boucle there are more time trial kilometres, but Michele is not so penalized in this kind of speciality.”
Polish rider Przemysław Niemiec, who was side by side with Scarponi as he forged his second place in the 2011 Giro, also said that he preferred the Italian race as an option for Scarponi. “Giro d'Italia is better for Michele, because its course has good characteristics for him and because it always offers huge rewards to an Italian cyclist,” he said.
“On Italian climbs, Scarponi could be very competitive and in 2011 only Contador could be stronger. I think that in 2011, thanks to added experience and an even more competitive team, Michele has the chance to win the Pink Race. In addition, the support by the Italian fans could be very important. Anyway, I understand well the will by Scarponi of trying the French challenge, riding against riders that are considered the top athletes but who have nothing more than him. I'd also like to take part in a Tour de France one day, but only after I've helped Michele to win a Giro d'Italia.”