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Italian champion steps up to WorldTour level
Movistar has confirmed that Giovanni Visconti will join the Spanish squad for 2012 and 2013 as the Italian national finally steps up to the WorldTour level in the hope of targeting the classics and short stage races.
Visconti has stayed loyal to his mentor and friend Luca Scinto at the Farnese Vini team in recent years but has decided to move on for 2012. The Farnese Vini team is set to be built around sprinter Andrea Guardini and possible new signing Filippo Pozzato.
“Last year I was close to changing teams (and joining Liquigas-Cannondale) but then I decided to stay to see if the team could step up a level. We hoped the team could secure a ProTeam licence but unfortunately it hasn’t happened,” Visconti told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I'm sorry to cut my ties to Luca and (team manager) Angelo Citracca because they always helped me. Fortunately now that our professional relationship is over, we get on even better."
Visconti admitted that he knows little about Spain or the Movistar team but plans to spend time there this winter and learn the language as soon as possible.
"I've bought a Spanish phrase book because I want to learn the language. But I also want to understand the Spanish culture, their mentality and how they live. I'm going to go there for a month this winter with my family. I'm not worried about fitting in because they have a Latin culture and have a lot in common with Sicily, where I come from."
"I've already talked to team manager Eusebio Unzue a lot. He wants to know me as a person as well as a rider. I think we're going to get on really well."
Classics and stage races but first the world championships
Visconti has yet to discuss his 2012 race programme and goal but is expecting to target the classics and short stage races.
"I think I'll focus on the classics in the first year but I can also climb, time trial and can look after myself on the climbs, so who knows, perhaps I can try and do something in a grand tour. I'm 28 but the truth is I've still got to mature completely as a rider," he said.
Visconti is not worried about a possible rivalry with Alejandro Valverde if the Spaniard joins Movistar after his suspension for doping ends in 2012.
"I hope he joins the team. Valverde is a great rider and as far as I know, a great person. We won't be rivals because no great team can be built around just one rider. It can only be an advantage to have him in the team."
Visconti spent most of July preparing for the second half of the season.
He will target the Trittico Lombardo race next week and then ride a full Italian calendar in the hope of being selected for the world championships in Copenhagen.
"I'm worked hard and always go well in the summer. I hope to be selected but if I'm not there will be other chances. The next two world championships are tough and so suit me more. The important thing is to be part of Paolo Bettini project for the national team."