Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri) is targeting a stage win and a spell in the pink jersey at May’s Giro d’Italia. The Sicilian is also hoping to defend his title at the following month’s Italian road race championships.
Visconti’s team were overlooked for last year’s Giro and he is determined to make amends this time around. With the route taking in some familiar roads, Visconti is not lacking in motivation.
“The Giro d’Italia is starting in Turin, the city where I was born, and will then go on to Tuscany, where I live, and then on to my Sicily,” Visconti, who grew up in Sicily, told Tuttobici.
“I’ll have to return to Sicily again at the end of June for the Italian championships, so it’s easy to establish my main objectives: at least a stage and a few days in the maglia rosa at the Giro, and a third tricolour jersey, which would go down in history.”
Visconti first took the title in 2007 before repeating the feat in Conegliano last summer. As well as capturing the Italian champion’s jersey last season, Visconti also finished at the top of the UCI Europe Tour rankings for the second successive season.
His performances were enough to earn a place on the Italian squad for the world championships in Geelong, where he had the experience of riding in a race in which radio communication was forbidden.
Like many of his fellow professionals, Visconti is vehemently opposed to the proposed banning of earpieces during races.
“Not allowing them to be used is really absurd,” he said. “It means going against progress and also putting the security of us riders at risk. I hope that once again cyclists are united in taking a decisive and cohesive position against this much-opposed decision.”
Noè set for final Giro
While Visconti is the leader of the Farnese Vini-Neri squad, the most experienced man in the line-up is undoubtedly Andrea Noè. The Italian turned 42 on Saturday and is facing into his nineteenth season as a professional.
The Italian confirmed that 2011 will be his final season and that he hopes his last act as a professional rider will be the final stage of the Giro d’Italia.
“I’ve already promised Simona, my wife,” Noè told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Her birthday is on May 29, when the Giro d’Italia finishes in Milan, so as a present I will climb off my bike.”
The highlights of Noè’s career have come at the Giro. In 1998 he took stage victory in San Marino ahead of no less a figure than Marco Pantani, while in 2007, he became the oldest man to wear the pink jersey, at 38.
Noè joins Farnese Vini-Neri from Ceramica Flaminia, and after riding for teams such as Mapei, Asics and Liquigas, he believes he has found an appropriate squad on which to end his career.
“In this team, I’ve found a real family and I’m happy with the choice made,” he told Tutto Bici. “What’s more, I’m like Farnese wines too, in that I get better as get older…
“My recipe for success is to have a desire for what you’re doing and to commit yourself fully without doubts or hesitation.”
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.