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"Great atmosphere" at Geox ahead of Giro d'Italia

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The Geox Giro team ride up the climb together

The Geox Giro team ride up the climb together
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Geoxs in the mist

Geoxs in the mist
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianpaolo Cheula will be forced to stop soon and walk to the top

Gianpaolo Cheula will be forced to stop soon and walk to the top
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Heavy banks of snow

Heavy banks of snow
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Denis Menchov (left) sets the pace

Denis Menchov (left) sets the pace
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Geox-TMC riders battle up the steep sections

The Geox-TMC riders battle up the steep sections
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Geox team car shines its lights to help the riders

The Geox team car shines its lights to help the riders
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianpaolo Cheula is forced to walk the final sections

Gianpaolo Cheula is forced to walk the final sections
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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There was thick fog at the top of the climb

There was thick fog at the top of the climb
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fog on the Colle delle Finestre

Fog on the Colle delle Finestre
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Geox-TMC riders on the Colle delle Finestre

The Geox-TMC riders on the Colle delle Finestre
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Denis Menchov puts the hammer down on the dirt roads

Denis Menchov puts the hammer down on the dirt roads
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The road conditions made climbing even harder

The road conditions made climbing even harder
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The team near the finish of the climb

The team near the finish of the climb
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Carlos Sastre was all smiles despite the tough conditions

Carlos Sastre was all smiles despite the tough conditions
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Denis Menchov couldn't wait to get started

Denis Menchov couldn't wait to get started
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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One rider almost comes off

One rider almost comes off
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Colle delle Finestre is a great setting for Geox's final test in the mountains

Colle delle Finestre is a great setting for Geox's final test in the mountains
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianpaolo Cheula setting the pace

Gianpaolo Cheula setting the pace
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Denis Menchov leads his team up the climb

Denis Menchov leads his team up the climb
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Two days before the start of the Giro d'Italia, team Geox-TMC went out on a recon ride over the Colle delle Finestre dirt pass, the penultimate climb on the 20th stage of this year's Giro. At the press conference following the training ride, the squad presented itself in excellent condition, ready to take on the challenges of the three-week endeavour.

"We've created a great atmosphere on the team. The guys are all tight and Denis (Menchov) and Carlos (Sastre) have managed to transmit motivation and tranquillity to the entire group," explained directeur sportif Stefano Zanini. "We're setting off knowing that we've prepared very well for the pink race, which is a very important objective for us."

Both team leaders were aware of the difficult task ahead, but not without confidence. "It's going to be quite a hard Giro d'Italia, from the first stage to the last. I think it'll be the most challenging out of all the ones I've faced so far," said Carlos Sastre.

"There are lots of important stages. The Zoncolan is very tough, but so are the Grossglockner, the super-stage in the Dolomites with the Gardeccia and the Colle delle Finestre in the same stage [sic - he probably means stage 15], and don't underestimate the first uphill finishes and the initial TTT."

Denis Menchov agreed. "It's a very tough Giro but it will be for us as it will be for all the other guys vying for the final victory," he commented. "I think our team is good and ready to play a role in the fight for Pink."