By Gregor Brown
Evergreen Giuseppe Guerini is approaching his 15th season as a professional. The 36 year-old from Bergamo, Italy is currently on island of Lanzarote, Spain with his T-Mobile teammates, preparing for the 2007 season.
Guerini, affectionately nicknamed Beppe Turbo, has lived through two of cycling's biggest disgraces, the Festina affair and Operación Puerto, but is still keeping focused on his goals; winning a third Tour de France stage and helping the up-and-comers in the German squad. "We rode out the Operación Puerto scandal with character," said Guerini to tuttobiciweb.com. "I am ready to start my new role as the appointed guide for the young riders of T-Mobile, in what will be my ninth season with T-Mobile."
Having been slapped hard before the Tour even started, losing Oscar Sevilla and Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile went about business, which resulted in winning the team competition. "To win the team classification in the last Tour was a big joy despite only having started with seven riders, given the withdrawal of Ullrich and Sevilla due to the ethical codes.
"The day before the Tour started, we took a decision in the team, my companions and I went on a two hour ride around Strasbourg, away from the clamour of the media. It was in this moment that there was created a strong will to react; the maillot jaune held by Honchar for a few days and the three stage victories were the immediate confirmations."
Since those hazy days in July, T-Mobile has gone through some serious restructuring, leaving few of the original riders, but Guerini was one who was asked to stay around.
"The internal monitoring of the riders will help combat doping and the new schedule that lacks the pressure of results at any cost are the basis of the new group," continued the rider who finished third in the Giro d'Italia on two occasions and has a mythical Alpe d'Huez win in his palmarès.
After a crash in stage three of the Regio Tour, resulting in a hairline fracture in his left collarbone, Guerini ended his 2006 season. "On my part, after passing though a season of stomach problems and a fractured collarbone, I dream of winning a third stage in the Tour."