|Gianni Savio at the Giro d'Italia 2012.|
Team Manager of Androni Giocattoli, Gianni Savio, is no longer satisfied with his Italian team only being in cycling’s second division as a Pro-Continental team. The charismatic Italian plans to do what Mauro Gianetti and Joxean ‘Matxin’ Fernandez failed to accomplish last year when they went to Venezuela in order to save the crumbling GEOX team after the shoe company cancelled its sponsorship.
In the beginning of 2012, Gianni Savio - who also acts as national coach for the Venezuelan cycling team - secured a deal with the South American government which meant the official team name in 2012 has been Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela. Building the team for 2013, Gianni Savio had to let go of three of his star riders when he couldn’t match the ProTour teams’ offers for Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) and José Serpa and Roberto Ferrari (both Lampre) due to a small budget but if everything goes according to plan this won’t be a problem in the future.
“Right now I’m negotiating with the Venezuelan government about the chances of upgrading the team to ProTour status. We talked about it at the Olympics this summer and in January I will fly to Caracas (the Venezuelan capital) to have another meeting about the project”, Gianni Savio tells C-Cycling and adds that it will probably take a couple of years until the ProTour team will be up and running.
“I think it will be difficult to have it all ready for 2014, but I hope that in 2015 it will be possible”.
You might ask yourself why Gianni Savio should be able to do what Gianneti and Matxin couldn’t. According to Savio, the answer is simple: “I know Venezuela. I know what is possible and what is not possible. They [Gianetti and Matxin] presented a project that simply wasn’t possible. I’m more realistic and that is also why I say 2015 and not 2014”.
Right now, Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela have 17 riders on contract for the next season and according to Gianni Savio the team will see a couple a new faces in the beginning of next year. “I think I will sign two or maybe three young Venezuelan riders in January. I think we have space for that”, he reveals.
In addition to the ProTour plan Gianni Savio will already lead a Venezuelan team with young riders from South America - helped out by a couple of his own riders - next year. “The Venezuelan government wants to invest in cycling and it would be good for the riders to come and try to race in Europe. I hope and think that this team will be ready next year.”, Gianni Savio explains.
A full interview with Gianni Savio will be online here on C-Cycling in the weekend. Stay tuned.