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Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego, l-r, in the 2005 Giro
Lampre's Saronni says idea of having Simoni in his final year is 'tantalizing'
Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego could join forces for the first time in five years. Lampre-NCG Team Manager Giuseppe Saronni had a meeting with Simoni's agents on Tuesday, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, to discuss the idea of him riding the final year of his career alongside Cunego.
"It's a tantalizing idea," Saronni said. "Gibo is no longer at the level to win the Giro d'Italia, but he remains a consistent cyclist. The idea is not only attractive, it also has the right and important technical elements. We will work on it."
The two Italians rode together in the same team under Saronni from 2002 to 2005. Their relationship broke down when Cunego, riding in his second Giro d'Italia, won four stages and the overall title at age 22. Two-time Giro winner and defending champion Simoni shouted at Cunego: "you're a bastard", as the latter celebrated his fourth stage win at Bormio.
Simoni, 38, and Cunego, 28, re-established their friendship last winter at a benefit dinner in Milan. Simoni, after two year's with Gianni Savio's Diquigiovanni, could be ready to race again with Cunego for the first time since the 2005 Giro di Lombardia.
"I would have remained in that group for a lifetime," said Simoni. "The idea of returning there is interesting. It's all come about in the last 24-hours and perhaps it won't even materialise."
Simoni's agents Alex and Johnny Carera met with the Lampre team owners and Saronni yesterday. The move could see him ride out the last of 17 years of road racing with Lampre.
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