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Gianetti speaks of four Saunier aces

Saunier at Giro

Saunier at Giro (Image credit: Sirotti)

Spanish-Italian team Saunier Duval-Prodir went into the 2007 Giro d'Italia with the idea of being a protagonist, specifically with its ace, two-time Giro winner Gilberto Simoni. The 35 year-old was unable to keep control on the time gap to Danilo Di Luca but he did come away with a magnificent stage win.

"In the team we have climbers of great value. Simoni was tremendous, he demonstrated that in spite of his age he is still one of the strongest Italian cyclists," said Team Manager Mario Gianetti. "A podium finish [in Milano] would have been a 'small cherry' but what he did on Monte Zoncolan will be remembered for years."

Simoni's victory was obtained first with the help of young protege Riccardo Riccò and then trusted domestique Leonardo Piepoli. "In certain moments, Piepoli's performance was touching," continued Gianetti. "His dedication to the cause and his faith to the captain should be a example for the new generation. He demonstrated that, even arriving in second [on Zoncolan], you can can obtain the support of fans and the media's attention." Piepoli secured his win on the Santuario Nostra Signora Della Guardia.

23 year-old Riccò took his first Giro win (at Tre Cime Di Lavaredo) in his first go at the Italian three-week race while keeping faithful to the team's order. "Riccò kept the trust that was expected of him at the start of the race, and he confirmed that he is one of the most talented youngsters in modern cycling. He made some errors but I think they did not come into play. If he has patience and grows slowly in the sport then he will have a future filled with success."

Gianetti noted his satisfaction with the fourth ace, Iban Mayo, who won the rain-soaked stage to Comano Terme. The Basque is a new member for the 2007 team and he was anxious to prove his strength in his first go at Italy's tour. "We are very happy with Iban Mayo's rise in form that we had followed in recent months with great attention. He had avoided pressure and maintained his cool. We stayed calm, we knew that, sooner or later, we would be repaid."

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