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ROME, April 27, (AFP) – Newly crowned 2011 Giro d’Italia champion Michele Scarponi — who earned the title in February, when original winner Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) was stripped of the victory by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) for doping — will be Lampre-ISD’s leader at this year’s edition of the Giro in May.
The team announced today that Scarponi be the GC leader, followed by perennial contender Damiano Cunego, who will be free to fly for stage victories, and would be next in line to ride for the GC if the Italian doesn’t show the form early on.
“The race for pink is the top target for Michele Scarponi,” explained team director Guiseppe Sarroni. “The team will support him with great confidence for the three weeks.”
Sarroni added that “the presence of Cunego will be remarkable because he will be free to act depending on the opportunities that present themselves during the race,” which starts in Herning, Denmark on May 5, and runs until the 27th where it ends in Milan, Italy.
The team’s marquis sprinter, Alessandro Petacchi, will not race in the Giro, preparing instead for another run in the Tour de France.
Giro officials recently announced that Scarponi will be presented the overall winner’s pink jersey for his 2011 title two days before the start of this year’s event.
Lampre’s complete Giro roster:
Michele Scarponi (ITA), Damiano Cunego (ITA), Adriano Malori (ITA), Przemyslaw Niemiec (POL), Diego Ulissi (ITA), Matteo Bono (ITA), Daniele Pietropolli (ITA), Daniele Righi (ITA), Alessandro Spezialetti (ITA)
In this wire story, Michele Scarponi was misidentified as Spanish. He is, of course, Italian, from Filottrano. Velo photo director Brad Kaminski shot this gallery of Scarponi’s hometown supporters during the 2011 Tirreno-Adriatico. —Ed.