By Antonio J. Salmerón
2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli looks forward to the next edition of his home tour and the World Championships, which will be held just steps away from where he was raised. The 34 year-old Acqua & Sapone rider spoke of the 2008 season while he was at his usual winter training home – Valencia, Spain.
"My wife comes from here, and the weather is usually good for training," he said to Cyclingnews of Valencia. The Italian, winner of two spectacular stages in the 2007 Giro, usually trains with brothers Ignacio and José Enrique Gutierrez of Team LPR.
Last Sunday, Garzelli took part in the second edition of the Critérium Ciudad de Murcia alongside other cycling stars such as Alejandro Valverde, Samuel Sánchez, Carlos Barredo and Iñigo Cuesta. Next season, the rider born in Varese will return to fight "for winning in the Giro," as happened eight years prior.
"I have lived my best moments in my cycling career during that three-week tour, in addition, when I race at home my motivation is higher," he continued.
The Giro's route in 2008 is not yet known, but Garzelli predicted that, "it will be as hard as always, with the traditional high mountain and the time trial stages." Last year, Garzelli won two mountain stages (Bergamo and Lienz). His goals are "the same as in 2008, because I will race for one more season." Garzelli's voice and cycling knowledge could land him a job as the next Davide Cassani of television commentating after his season ends.
Garzelli is also very motivated to race in his home town of Varese, at the 2008 World Championships. "I know the route very well, and it is very demanding, sure, because it has two hard climbs – I think it is good for me. I will prepare in depth after disputing the Giro."
He last raced the Tour de France in 2006 with Liquigas, and does not feel the need to return. "Being in the Giro will be enough for me, I will not take part in the Tour de France," he explained.