One day after Belgian Professional Continental team Unibet.com - successor to MrBookmaker.com - has announced that it has made a contract offer to Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) in a bid to run for the last slot in the 2006 ProTour, news from Italy is that 'Gibo' Simoni has now a multitude of offers to choose from, including one of Spanish team Saunier Duval.
"We really hope he will opt for our proposition," said Saunier Duval team manager Mauro Gianetti. "With Gilberto, our team would certainly make a big leap in terms of quality. The team is growing, we have finished this season in seventh position in the ProTour classification and Gilberto's arrival would also be an important recognition of our work."
Saunier Duval, who have already signed Giro d'Italia stage winner Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros) and Luciano Pagliarini (Liquigas), are sure that they will find a spot for a rider like Simoni next season. "As for the racing programme, no problem: if 'Gibo' accepts, we will sit down and work it out together," Gianetti added. Vacancies on the team were created by the departure of a handful of riders, including Juan Manuel Garate, Constantino Zaballa and Chris Horner.