Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) will skip the Ardennes classics in order to focus his energies on the Giro d’Italia. The Italian finished 4th in the 2010 edition of the race and will lead Lampre’s general classification challenge next season.
“The first part of 2011 is all built around the Giro, so there’ll be no Ardennes classics, even though they are races that stimulate me a lot and in which I’ve already shown I can do well,” Scarponi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Liege-Bastogne-Liege is my kind of race but this year it’s better to sacrifice it.”
In spite of his impressive 2010 Giro, where he took a stage victory at Aprica, Scarponi believes that there is still margin for improvement in his preparation this time around.
“I got into form too early,” he admitted. “I was already going well in February-March. Even on a mental level, it cost energy. I began the Giro in too good a condition and in the last week, in spite of the stage win, I suffered.”
Scarponi’s pre-Giro race programme will be tailored accordingly and he will debut at the Tour of Sardinia, before moving on to Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of the Basque Country and the Giro del Trentino to fine-tune his form.
Damiano Cunego has led Lampre’s recent Giro d’Italia challenges but Scarponi insists that the duo’s roles are clearly defined in 2011. “At the Giro, I hope that he can give me a hand in the general classification and then take some personal satisfaction for himself,” Scarponi explained.