What's Cool In Road Cycling

Simoni Only Has Eyes for the Vuelta

MILANO, 26 August 2002 – Like always, Gilberto Simoni doesn’t use many words to express the importance of what he has to say. Simoni will go the Vuelta to win and he doesn’t want to hear talk about redemption or a vendetta. “The first will be a consequence of success, the second I have no need for”.

The Captain of the Saeco-Longoni Sport is trying to recapture a season that was filled with promise, but cut short on May 24th the night before the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia, in Campobasso, 24hrs after his last victory this year, at the top of the Campitello Matese. Since then, a long and forced stop, caused by two positive tests for cocaine, enforced by his team and the Italian Judiciary Magistrates. On July 26th, SImoni was absolved of his accusations and returned to racing in Hamburg, at the World Cup: it was August 4th, 72 days after the fatefull stage to Campitello Matese. In Germany, he achieved an 85th spot, then a 53rd at the Giro di Camaiore, 64th at San Sebastian, adding a 3d at the Gran Premio di Llodio and 10th at the Vuleta Burgos, the last three Spanish races, because there he gave his promise for the last race of his season.

Looking at the Vuelta, Simoni, where he has won two stages in the last two editions, in 2000 on the mythical Angliru and in 2001 on he Alto de Abantos, placing himself in the general classification first at 29th then at 36th. “This time I need to give more, because of the faith that Corti and the patron Zappella has placed in me. The Vuelta is a race that I have always liked, and I have the final victory in my head”. To hope to achieve this, it’s indispensable to do well at the Trofeo Melinda Thursday, at his home in Val di Non, and at the Giro del Friuli Saturday; last races of a week that was initiated by the Giro del Veneto last Saturday, won by teammate Danilo Di Luca, in which he placed 39th “and where I was lacking in the final 500 meters of the climb. However, I have faith, because I feel my form growing, also these haven’t been great tests to measure myself”.

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