By Gregor Brown in Milan
Two of the most out-spoken team representatives in Italian cycling gave their thoughts on the 2008 Giro d'Italia after it was presented on Saturday evening in Milan. Italian Gianni Savio, Team Manager of Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia, and Russian Oleg Tinkoff, Team Owner of Tinkoff Credit Systems, both oversee Professional Continental teams that are based in Italy and gunning for a spot in the first Grand Tour of the year.
Savio has long had a team represented in the Giro under the Selle Italian sponsorship, and it was only this year that he was not able to take a team. 2008 will be different thanks to the signing of Gilberto Simoni, a two-time winner of the race. "We have trust that we will be invited because we have Gilberto Simoni, who has won the Giro twice, and we have a team that has always honoured the Giro and respected the ethics of cycling," said Savio to Cyclingnews.
"Simoni was asked by a journalist which of his two Giro wins were the best, he said the second. The first one he said he just arrived, and the second was even more difficult because he had to repeat. I said that I hope it will be his third victory that will be the best," he continued with a grin.
Savio said he saw the 2008 Giro as a a balanced course. "It is a beautiful course that shows the sport as modern but keeping in the antique fashion of the Giro. The number of kilometres in the time trials will be compensated by the mountains, and there is also the time trial that is a mountain time trial on Plan de Corones. Like always, it will be a Giro for a complete rider, but above all, it is for the climber. Naturally we are hoping it will be a race for Gilberto Simoni."
Tinkov made his debut in the Italian three-week race this year, and is hoping to be invited again. "We are talking all the time, I don't know – it is not a certainty until you have the invitation, but we will do all we can to get invited."
The parcours will suit one of his star riders, Mikhail Ignatiev. "It is a good parcours for our team, not much easier but it is better than this year with the number of time trials."