Frigo: At the Tour to Measure Myself
– Reported by Gazzetta.it –
MILAN, 2 July 2002 – “I’ve got a great want for the Tour because I have a great want to redeem myself”. Elementary equation, put in place by Dario Frigo, secured by a first and second place in the time trial and road race, respectively, at the Italian national championships. The Tour, which begins Saturday, gives Frigo dreams of a high classification; the same rider that less than a month ago, arriving exhausted and dropped on the Passo Coe, last mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia, said with resigned inflection: “I understand that I’m not a rider for three week tours”.
It’s enough that in a few days and two great showings at the Settimana Tricolore (Italian National Championships) to give the Tacconi Sport-Tonello rider a new outlook and belief in himself. “Above all – he explained to Gazzetta.it – I arrived at the Giro after a forced suspension from the illicit substances found in my hotel room in San Remo last year and with very few races in my legs. The two factors, combined, penalized me in the third and final week of the race, that was decisive. However I’ve quickly recovered the energy it cost me, and now, close to the Tour, I feel that my legs are much more strong than they were at this time during the Giro: we’ll see in France the verification of my abilities in three week races and I’m sure that you won’t hear me saying that I’m no good for stage races”.
“I don’t have other objectives than to demonstrate my competitiveness: in this moment, I’ll say that I hope to one or more stage wins and a place among the top ten in the overall. There are four time trials, comprised by the prolouge, the team time trial, and the two others: I’ve already demonstrated in my career that I’m strong against the clock, I’m aiming to do well in the prolouge in Luxembourg; the distance, a little less than 7km, and the roads favor me. Then, in the mountains, much depends on the conditiions; Armstong is on another planet, but if I’m well, don’t worry, I will attack”. All this said with great naturalness, “because at the bottom of it, this is my first Tour: in ’97, in my second year as a pro, I went to help Gotti, who retired, and in the second week I went home as well”. But the attitiude with which he confronts the climbs of the Tour represents a new view for someone who, in the mountains, has always ridden defensively.
And because he knows that like never before the Italians are lining up behind the favorite Amrstrong: to do worse than last year, when not one Italian won a stage, is impossible. The 5 teams from Italy that were invited (Tacconi Sport-Tonello, Lampre-Daikin, Alessio, Fassa Bortolo, and Mapei-Quick Step) do not cherish anything more that putting together some successes: “We are not a lot – reminds Frigo – and for me this is a big stimulus. Without Pantani, Simoni, and Casagrande, I will try to take higher the name of Italy”.