June 01, 2004
Simoni vs. Cunego: the aftermath
There are rumors Saeco's Gilberto Simoni, winner of the 2001 and 2003 Giro d'Italia, may try to get out of the final year of his contract, rather than share team leadership with 2004 Giro winner Damiano Cunego.
On Sunday, twenty-four hours after Simoni called Cunego a “bastard and an ignoramus”, he had claimed the pair had “patched up their differences”. Few, though, were convinced.
Asked whether Simoni and Cunego, the master and the undergraduate, were now friends again, Simoni could only reply: “we’ll have to work together in the future for the common good of the team, so we need to be.”
Simoni insisted his conditioning was good enough to win the race:
“Even if I am finishing the Giro in third place, I don’t consider myself beaten,” Simoni asserted. “I could have brought the world crashing down in those last couple of stages. Had I really wanted to win the Giro, I would have attacked earlier on the Mortirolo [stage 19, Bormio – Presolana]. Or I could have followed Garzelli on the Gavia [stage 18, Cles Val di Non – Bormio 2000]… Why didn’t I? I couldn’t.”
(Here I think "couldn't" is "was not allowed to".)
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