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85th Giro d'Italia (GT)
Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002
Stefano's a man on a mission
By Anthony Tan
This year, 28 year-old Stefano Garzelli has done everything by the book, and believes he has the confidence, capability and the team to take his second victory in the Giro d'Italia. For an Italian, the Giro is the most important race of the season, or as the Italians say, "l'obiettivo principale". Garzelli is no different, and the 1.76m, 60 kilogram climber from Varese has thought of nothing else - because to win a race like the Giro, it requires "tutte le energie fisiche e mentali" - all the physical and mental energy available. Stefano kindly granted Cyclingnews part of his mental energy for a brief interview that signals danger for his opponents.
CN: How do you feel your season has gone so far this year?
SG: I think that my season this year has been good, considering my recent second place in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and all my other placings. It is only the victory that I lack, which I hope will arrive soon.
CN: What are your team's goals for the Giro d'Italia?
SG: The objective is to win the Giro d'Italia, and I'm sure that I will reach the heights of confidence that Mapei has placed in me.
CN: How important is the Giro to you?
SG: For me the Giro is the main objective of all the whole season. I have won this race before in 2000, and for an Italian it is the most important goal of all. Last year I did not begin in optimal condition, and had to give up because of bronchitis; this year I have done everything possible in an attempt not to encounter the problems experienced in 2001. I have also undergone thermal treatment in order to help my bronchitis.
CN: What are your personal goals for the Giro - are there any stages in particular you would like to win?
SG: My objective is to win the Giro d'Italia, and I'm sure that it is within my capabilities. It will be necessary to go strongly on the climbs, but most importantly in the time trial, when considering the race as a whole.
CN: Who will be your directeur-sportif for the Giro?
SG: This year my sport director will be Roberto Damiani, to whom I have the highest regard for.
CN: Do you know who your room-mate will be for the Giro - is it the same for all races?
SG: I usually share a room with Davide Bramati, and he will also be my room-mate for the Giro.
CN: What do you do to relax during a race as big as the Giro d'Italia?
SG: I listen to heaps of music, and I have fun surfing the Internet.
CN: Will you be riding the Tour de France or the Vuelta after the Giro?
SG: This year I would like to have a go at tackling the la Vuelta, particularly because I have never never competed in it before. However it will be a decision that the team will discuss with me after the Giro.
CN: What are your objectives for the rest of the 2002 season?
SG: At present the sole objective is the Giro because it demands all the physical and mental energy available. As I was saying earlier, after the Giro an appraisal will be made on my schedule for the remainder of the season. If the condition is still good, it may be right for me to also compete in the Tour de France.
Thanks to Marco Garzelli for co-ordinating the interview.