Italian national champion to begin the season in Qatar
Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti described the confirmation that his team has been assured a place in the 2011 Giro d’Italia as ‘the first victory of the new season’ and the news gave him and his team extra motivation as they begin to prepare for next year.
The Tuscan-based team was known as ISD-Neri this year but will be become Farnese Vini-Neri in 2011 after swapping sponsors with the Lampre team.
“Knowing that we’re doing the Giro allows me and the team to start the season more relaxed but also more confident. There won’t be a need to get result at any price,” Visconti told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Visconti wore the pink leader’s jersey at the 2008 Giro for eight days but will target stage victories in 2011.
“I still haven’t won anything big, so I’ve got ground to make up. But I think 2011 will be my year," Visconti predicted.
“I think I’ve got the ability to do something but it’s not the right moment yet. I’m 27 but I’m not physically mature yet: I’m about three years behind my age. Going for a result between 15th and 20th doesn’t make sense. We’ll see what happens in the future.”
Visconti was close to leaving ISD-Neri for Liquigas in the summer. He wanted to ride the big classics and break out of the Italian scene. But the Professional Continental team is built around him and his departure put the whole team at risk.
He reportedly fell out with his mentor and directeur sportif Luca Scinto but then backtracked and decided to stay. He will again lead the team in 2011, alongside Patrik Sinkewitz and Italian veteran Andrea Noe, who will ride his last-ever Giro at the age of 41 before retiring.
“Things are fine now. And to be honest I’m sick of talking about it all the time. It just makes me angry," he said.”
“I realised that I was selling myself short and the teams that were interested were hesitating, so I decided to stay. I gave myself and the team another chance.”
Visconti won the Presidential Tour of Turkey and topped the UCI Europe ranking for a second consecutive season but is counting on Noe’s experience to help the team at the Giro d’Italia. Noe became the oldest ever pink jersey wearer in 2007.
“He’s got the right mentality; he’s good at boosting team spirit and has a lot of experience. He’ll be a good teacher for the young riders and is motivated for his final season. He’s 41 but I’m sure he’ll be the one who will work the hardest in the team.”
Visconti has already begun training for 2011, spending time in the gym on his core strength and leg strength to avoid the knee problems that affected him in the spring.
The team will hold a training camp in mid-December on the Tuscan coast, with another set for Terracina, south of Rome in January, before Visconti and a team flies to the Middle East for the Tour of Qatar.