By VeloNews Interactive Wire ServicesCopyright AFP 2001
Team Saeco officials vowed to put their disappointing 2000 season behind them as they unveiled its 2001 team line-up, in San Marino on January 30. “The program for 2001 is to improve on last year,” was the blunt assessment of team manager Claudio Corti.
Last year was hardly a memorable year for a team that had little to celebrate on track or road, and whose talisman Mario Cipollini saw injury curtail his appearances. But Tuesday’s launch served to turn the page and fuel hope for more prosperity in the team’s seventh year of competition for the red-shirted outfit.
“The year 2000 was one to forget,” said Cipollini. “I don’t like to talk about it.” But the 33-year-old from Lucca was adamant that he was not a spent force, saying, “It just makes me more motivated and better prepared for this season.”
Italians Oscar Cavagnis (Alexia Alluminio), Mirko Celestino and Fabio Sacchi (both Polti) and American Justin Spinelli (Farm Frites) have all jumped ship in the close season to join the team.
Three newcomers to the professional ranks also make the leap. They are Australian Brad Davidson, Italian Nicola Gavazzi and Lithuania’s Marius Sabaliauskas.
Celestino was touted as the most important signing with team manager Claudio Corti predicting great things from the 26-year-old from Albenga. “Celestino is very capable of winning a one-day race and that will be his objective.
“And given his capacity to win on the day he might get in for a big Tour race so he can win a stage or two.”
Giuseppe Calcaterra (Ita)Mario Cipollini (Ita)Salvatore Commesso (Ita)Biagio Conte (Ita)Laurent Dufaux (Swi)Alessio Galletti (Ita)Jorg Ludewig Ger)Armin Meier (Swi)Massimiliano Mori (Ita)Torsten Nitsche (Ger)Pavel Padrnos (Cze)Dario Pieri (Ita)Ior Pugaci (Mkd)Paolo Savoldelli (Ita)Mario Scirea (Ita)Francesco Secchiari (Ita)Christian Wegmann (Ger)
New signingsOscar Cavagnis (Ita)Mirko Celestino (Ita)Fabio Sacchi (Ita)Justin Spinelli (USA)
Neo ProBrad Davidson (Aus)Nicola Gavazzi (Ita)Marius Sabaliauskas (Lit)