Mario Cipollini believes that Andrea Guardini must work on his weaknesses if he is to continue his development into one of the top sprinters in cycling. Guardini (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) enjoyed a sparkling debut season as a professional, but Cipollini warned that he still has margin for improvement in many departments.
“Andrea has shown what he’s made of in his first year as a professional,” Cipollini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Now he needs a quiet winter to understand what he has to do in the future. I think that he needs to transform his physique, considerably increase his endurance and improve a lot in the climbs, even if it comes at the cost of losing something from his enormous turn of pace.”
While Guardini’s devastating burst of speed in the finishing straight saw him snare 11 victories over the course of the season, he struggled when the road went uphill, particularly at the Settimana Lombarda, when he finished outside the time limit on the opening stage. Cipollini is adamant that he must continue to develop in order to be able to win more difficult races. The 22-year-old Guardini is expected to make his Giro d'Italia debut in 2012.
“He has to do it if he wants to become a champion, otherwise his objectives are limited,” Cipollini said. “But he has age on his side.”
Ultimately, Cipollini believes that Guardini can follow in the wheel tracks of other explosive sprinters with track backgrounds at Milan-San Remo.
“If Cavendish and Goss can win San Remo, then Guardini can aim for it too. But he has to do that work I was talking about,” he noted.
Cipollini was speaking from Japan, where he took part in an Olympic sprint with Guardini and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) as part of the festivities to inaugurate the covered velodrome at Izu.
“We won in 49.100,” Cipollini said. “I did the first lap, Guardini the second and Viviani the third.”
He was fulsome in his praise of Viviani, another member of Italy’s burgeoning generation of sprint talent. “He’s only 22, but he’s very mature and he’s very elegant on the bike,” Cipollini said. “I think he can win any one-day race.”