Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If You Were Michele Scarponi....

.....would you skip next year's Giro d'Italia to race in the Tour de France?

Michele Scarponi, who races for Lampre-ISD, has said that he is seriously considering skipping the Giro d'Italia in order to race in the Tour de France. This year in the Giro he finished 2nd to Alberto Contador at 6’10” behind (Nibali was 3rd). Contador has decided to not race in the Giro in order to focus on the Tour.

Scarponi's teammates are split on their advice:

Diego Ulissi: "I think that to support a captain, that could be Cunego or Scarponi, in view of targets such as the Giro or Tour is an exciting challange and a crucial moment for my growth as cyclist. Michele is evaluating with the proper care where he can best use his qualities that are among the best of the cycling world. I know that I'll be able to pedal next to him in the heat moments of the races. I lived outstanding days in 2011 Giro d'Italia so I'd like to live this experience again, but I understand also the will of Michele to try a new challenge."

Alessandro Spezialetti (who has raced in 14 Giro d'Italia: "The choice of Giro d'Italia or Tour de France needs deep reflection and it's very interesting. I think that Michele, like any other Italian cyclist, has a strong bond with Giro d'Italia: try to win it it's an irresistible temptation. But just because Scarponi has top qualities as athlete, he's very attracted by Tour de France too. In fact, he showed in 2011 that maybe with the exception of Contador he could be better that any other rider for Grand Tours. So, I don't understand why he should dismiss any option. On a technical side, it's true that Giro's course suites Scarponi's characteristics very well and that in Grande Boucle there are more time trial kilometers, but Michele is not so penalized in this kind of specialty."

Daniele Righi: "The Tour de France is a very exciting option that would bring Michele huge recognition. Michele's qualities makes it possible for him to obtain good results in France and maybe to win top stages, he's one of the toughest riders and he's one of the best climbers. However, if he wants to be competitive for the yellow jersey he should improve in time trial. He's already quite good but in long time trial such as the Tour's ones he needs to improve.

A victory in the Corsa Rosa is the dream of every Italian cyclist; the Grande Boucle, meanwhile, thanks to its difficulty and level of competition, can make a rider legendary."

Matteo Bono: "There are many aspects to consider before such important decision. I'm sure that Scarponi, thanks to the recommendations of the technical staff, will decide what is best. The career of Michele in Giro d'Italia is now well known: his improvement in the Corsa Rosa has been huge, in 2011 he obtained his first podium and in 2012 he'll be able to try to hit the big target of winning it. Regarding the Tour de France, I think the outcome is more determined by the hazards as the 2011 edition showed with crashes and changes in the overall standing. So, in my opinion, this could be a good year for Scarponi to try to win the Giro."

Przemyslaw Niemiec: "Giro d'Italia is better for Michele because its course has characteristics suited for him and because it always so motivates an Italian cyclist. On Italian climbs, Scarponi could be very competitive, this year only Contador could be stronger. Thanks to that experience, and an even more competitive team, Michele has the chance to win the Corsa Rosa. In addition, the support by the Italian fans could be very important. Anyway, I understand very well the desire by Scarponi of trying the French challenge, of riding against riders that are considered the top athletes but that have nothing more than him. I'd also like to take part in a Tour de France one day, but only after I have helped Michele win a Giro d'Italia".

The Schleck brothers have decided to not ride the Giro next year saying, "We will not do the Giro. What matters is the Tour. We love the Tour. The goal is to win the Tour de France." Interesting was the response by Eddy Merckx to this which I believe is also applicable to Michele Scarponi as well: "It's better to be first in the Giro then second in the Tour." Felice Gimondo has expressed the same exact opinion.

So, if you were Michele Scarponi what would you decide?

Photo: Bettini

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Stories for the Italian Cycling Journal about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com. There are more than 2,200 stories in this blog. The search feature to the right works best for finding subjects in the blog. There is also a translate button at the bottom so you can translate each page.


  1. We hate to see ANY Italian (well, maybe Ivan Basso) skip La Corsa Rosa to race LeTour. First because it perpetuates the idea that one can not do well in both (though a few have, and not just on "easy" editions of il Giro)and second because so many foreign teams no longer send their best riders for the reason noted above. Scarponi has little chance in France and has yet to win the Giro. It's a sporting no-brainer to us but we realize these decisions are not always made with purely sporting criteria.

  2. I'm happy either way. Scarponi is a scrappy little guy and I always enjoy his upbeat attitude and sense of humor in press interviews.