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Thursday’s EuroFile: Simoni’s Giro plans; Gerrans hopes for speedy return

Gilbert Simoni was the man of the hour at Saunier Duval's posh team presentation last week in Milan. The veteran Italian already feels comfortable in his new kit, swapping his longtime home at Saeco-Lampre for Saunier Duval-Prodir for 2006. A two-time winner of the Giro d'Italia, Simoni said the change of air has already given a boost of new motivation. "The switch to another team has helped me rediscover my love of racing," Simoni said. "This is a team that will attack the race in Spanish style. It's very important to take control of the race and set the tempo." Simoni will make

By Andrew Hood

Simoni may start all three grand tours, but he still has his eye on a single prize.

Simoni may start all three grand tours, but he still has his eye on a single prize.

Photo: AFP (file photo)

Gilbert Simoni was the man of the hour at Saunier Duval’s posh team presentation last week in Milan. The veteran Italian already feels comfortable in his new kit, swapping his longtime home at Saeco-Lampre for Saunier Duval-Prodir for 2006. A two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia, Simoni said the change of air has already given a boost of new motivation. “The switch to another team has helped me rediscover my love of racing,” Simoni said. “This is a team that will attack the race in Spanish style. It’s very important to take control of the race and set the tempo.” Simoni will make his season debut at the Mallorca Challenge before heading to the United States for the Tour of California and wind-tunnel testing following the race. For Simoni, it’s all about getting to the top spot again in the Giro. “I am confident I can come back and win the Giro,” he said. “I don’t count anymore the Giros I’ve won; that’s all in the past. I do look more toward last year. I only lost to Savoldelli by 28 seconds.” He’s already hinting that he might start all three grand tours; the Giro for the win, the Tour de France for a stage-win and the Vuelta a España to support his Spanish teammates and sponsor. “Don’t forget my top goal is the Giro,” he said. “Depending on how much strength I have, but that’s the idea. At the Tour, I already have my goal – to win the stage at Alpe d’Huez.” Surgery set for Gerrrans
Simon Gerrans, who crashed hard in the final sprint at the GP d’Ouverture la Marseillaise in France, will undergo surgery on both shoulders in a hospital in Nice. “Basically my left collar bone is in three pieces so they’re going to pin that back together so it heals quickly and as far as my right shoulder is concerned the AC joint has popped out because of the ligament tear so they will screw that back into place,” Gerrans told Cycling Australia. “The specialist is really positive and says I should be back on the home trainer four or five days after the surgery. He said if I was a regular person and not an athlete they wouldn’t even operate but because it’s both sides and I want to get back on the bike as soon as possible they’ll do the surgery.”

Gerrans said he’s still holding out that he will be selected to participate in the Commonwealth Games team.

Liberty sets training camp
Liberty Seguros-Würth is heading to Spain’s Costa del Sol for an early season training camp in Estepona from Feb. 10-16. From there, the team will return to Madrid for an official presentation ahead of the team’s racing debut at the Tour of Valencia from Feb. 21-25.