June 27, 2005
Surprise! Simoni will miss Tour
When Lampre Tour hope Damiano Cunego was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, fans could take comfort in the team's other leader, Gilberto Simoni, who won the 2003 Giro d'Italia, and was 2nd this year. Simoni is rumored to be leaving the team at the end of the year (his contract's up).
Simoni talked a great deal of trash before the 2003 Tour, and then lost time by the bucketful, salvaging his Tour with a brilliant victory in Stage 14. Today, Lampre released their Tour roster, and Simoni is nowhere to be seen:
Seems like Simoni would have had at least as good a shot at a stage win as any of these guys...
Update: This update by Juan Fuentes at BiciRace.com might help explain it: After explaining that Patxi Villa will take his slot on the Tour squad, he notes:
They want me to save energy for the Vuelta because we will have to do a great second half of the year to get some results.
They may want to save Simoni for a run at the Vuelta.
Update (6/28): BBC Sport says Simoni is suffering from "muscle fatigue."
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