Simoni and Bettini headline star-studded Trentino

The 32nd Giro del Trentino will feature two-time Giro d'Italia Champion Gilberto Simoni and World...

The 32nd Giro del Trentino will feature two-time Giro d'Italia Champion Gilberto Simoni and World Champion Palo Bettini in its startlist when it runs this Tuesday through Friday – April 22 to 25. The race in northeast Italy, won in 2007 by Italian Damiano Cunego, is considered a key warm-up event for the country's Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, May 10 to June 1.

"It is an important step towards the Giro, and this year I want to battle for the win," commented Italy's Simoni of team Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli to Agr. The 36 year-old won the race in 2003 before going on to win the Giro d'Italia, which he had won two years previously, in 2001.

For more on Simoni's Giro d'Italia and mountain biking ambitions, read Gilberto Simoni's mountainous journey.

Bettini confirmed his Trentino participation after beginning forced to miss the Amstel Gold due to a crash in the País Vasco. "As a consequence of my fall in Spain I've not been able to train as much as I'd like, and I will not be able to take part in either the Amstel Gold Race or the Flèche Wallonne," Bettini stated yesterday.

"I only started riding again on Sunday, but I won't be able to carry out intense training until Friday due to the pain from my broken rib and due to the physiotherapy sessions I'm having in order to resolve this problem."

The Quick Step rider still intends on racing in Belgium's Liège-Bastogne-Liège, two days after the Italian race ends. "I preferred to opt for this change in my program as I want to take part in the Liège. La Doyenne is the race that launched me, I have a special connection with this race."

The 34 year-old Italian from La California (Livorno) is a two-time winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 2000 and 2002.

"With regard to the Giro del Trentino – Bettini continued – it is a race that I'm more than happy to take part in, it is one of the first races I ever participated in as a professional back in 1997. ... I'll be looking to honour the race as best I can, but it won't be easy due to the problems I'm suffering with."

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