|Gianni Savio and his Androni team have very|
high expectations for this year's Giro d'Italia.
“First of all we want to be protagonists. We hope to get a rider on the podium. José Rujano was already on the podium back in 2005 and I hope he can be there this year too. He is our team leader, but we have also two other riders who can do something big in this race, José Serpa and Emanuelle Sella. Also we have a good sprinter in Roberto Ferrari and a great young rider in Fabio Felline. All in all we have a good compact team and I think we will be protagonists in this Giro”.
What about the team classification, is that a goal too?
For sure! We hope to be on the podium as winners of the team classification. That is a goal for us. Last year we were second in the team points classification and this year I hope we can be on the podium for the time classification.
How is Rujano coming into this Giro compared to last year?
I think that he is a little bit better this time actually. He has prepared very well for this Giro. He was second in Langkawi where we won with Serpa and after that he did well in Italy, in Giro del Trentino, so I think he is ready. Plus he is also a rider who is able to increase his condition during the Giro, which is very important for the last week.
Can he win this Giro?
There is no doubts that Rujano has the possibility to win the Giro but with him nothing is certain. For sure I hope he will win, but we will have to wait and see.
How about Roberto Ferrari, what do you expect from in this Giro?
Ferrari had some stomach problems when he started the season in Tour de San Luis and withdrew. After that he began very well [1 stage win and 3 second places in Tour de Taiwan] and he has now three wins this season. He is a good sprinter, for sure, but it is not easy for him, because here you have riders like Cavendish, Hushovd etc, so it won’t be easy to win. To be realistic, I would say he can do top3 or top5 in the mass sprints.
And Fabio Felline?
Well, I think there have been some mistakes in Felline’s race programs in the past. For me he was too young to participate in the Tour de France for example. The way I see it, it wasn’t good for him. Felline is from my town where I live [Torino] and I always explain to his many fans that it’s important not to put too much pressure on him. He needs to progress gradually. But for sure I hope that he will win a stage in this Giro.
There are many stages that suit him very well.
Who is your favorite for the overall victory?
Personally I would be very happy if Michele Scarponi wins this Giro. He used to be one of my riders. I signed him back when nobody wanted to touch him [after Operación Puerto] and with us he won three stages in the Giro, he got 4th overall in the Giro, he won Tirreno-Adriatico and suddenly all the teams wanted to sign him. Actually he called me after Giro dell'Appennino where he was in the breakaway. At one point it looked like the breakaway could make it to the finish so I put the whole team in front to catch him and we won with Felline. Afterwards he called me and said he was very happy for us winning the race, even though it meant we had to catch him first. We have a good relationship and I would be happy if he wins the Giro.
Who else do you think will be up there?
Ivan Basso looks good, Roman Kreuziger too. Purito and Pozzovivo will also be there together with Fränk Schleck who I think will do a great Giro. There is not a superman this year and because of that I think we will get a very open and very interesting Giro this time.
Androni brings a team full of climbers. Is the mountain jersey also a goal for you?
Well, we will see. It’s not our first goal. It will depend on how the race goes but for sure we will try to get it if it’s possible. First of all we aim for a stage win and then afterwards we will see if we can also go for the mountain jersey too.
Do you have any specific stages red-circled already?
No. I think the most important stage will be the one to Stelvio [Stage 20] but in cycling nothing is certain. We all may think that Stelvio will be the key, but then maybe in Cervinia [Stage 14] everything changes. Remember two years ago in L'Aquila [The stage where a big breakaway with Carlos Sastre & David Arroyo among others got away with 12 minutes to the peloton]? What many forget is that it was Androni who back then saved the Giro! I personally stopped three riders of my riders in the breakaway to get back to the peloton where we started to chase, chase and chase. If we hadn’t done that, the Giro would have ended on that stage and Arroyo would have won overall.
As Giro Expert during the race Gianni Savio will give a preview of each stage and his winner pick for all the stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia. You will find Savio’s latest preview on the front page and can see all of them by clicking here.
This interview was made before José Serpa broke a finger on his right hand on Stage 2 and before Roberto Ferrari caused Mark Cavendish to crash on Stage 3.