Italian rider Gilberto Simoni may remain in the peloton this coming year. According to Italian daily Il Mattino, the two-time Giro d'Italia winner, 38 years old, is about to sign with a new Continental team, Meridiana-Kamen. The squad was created by joining together the Estonian Meridiana-Kalev Chocolate Team and Croatian amateur outfit Puris-Kamen-Pazin.
"We are currently negotiating with Gilberto Simoni," said Meridiana-Kamen team manager Antonio Giallorenzo. "He might be 38 years old, but he still has many roads to ride."
Simoni had been rumoured to retire since his contract with Gianni Savio's Diquigiovanni team runs out at the end of 2009. Various teams like Lampre and Astana thought about signing him, but in the end discarded the idea. Astana's new directeur sportif, Giuseppe Martinelli, indicated that Simoni wanted to retire after the 2010 Giro d'Italia.
While it is doubtful that Meridiana-Kamen will be invited to the Italian Grand Tour, Simoni could still opt to end his career at home in the Giro del Trentino in April.
If a contract is signed, Simoni would join former Italian champion Salvatore Commesso as well as Frenchman Aurélien Passeron at Meridiana-Kamen.