Lampre-Caffita's Gilberto Simoni is this year's early bird in having ridden all of the decisive climbs of the 2005 Giro d'Italia already. "Of all the 2005 Giro climbs, I was only lacking the Plan de Corones," Simoni told Italian website tuttobiciweb.com last Saturday, before taking his bike out for a spin up the Plan de Corones, which will be the final ascent of stage 17 taking place on Wednesday, May 24, 2006.
Although Simoni had to change for a mountainbike at one point, as there was already snow on the Dolomites ski resort, Sunday proved to be a perfect day for reconnoitring the course under blue skies. "It's a truly demanding climb," the two-times Giro d'Italia winner said on the 17 kilometres-long climb averaging 7.5 percent gradient. "Even though with the snow I couldn't discover it properly. But I'm close to home here so I can come back during the beautiful season!" Simoni will be riding the event in the colours of his new team Saunier Duval.