I’ve already undergone two surprise anti-doping tests. I’m ready.” There are many ways to determine if you’re ready to race the Giro d’Italia, and maybe that’s a good one.
That’s what our old favorite Gilberto Simoni had to say about his form and preparation for his final swan song race.
Yeah, you must be in decent shape if the UCI vampires feel like dropping by unannounced. Obviously, they think Simoni is ready to roll. You’re back in the game, baby.
“I’m doing it to ride the Giro for one last time. I consider the Giro ‘my’ race,” he said. “I’ve kept training because I was convinced I can ride it. I might suffer early on but the best bit is at the end.”
We’ve always liked Simoni’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude; the man can’t help but say what’s on his mind, good or bad. He can be an irascible sometimes but his inability to censor himself was much appreciated.
So the two time Giro winner’s career will soon come to an end at the ripe old age of almost 39. (Lance Armstrong, take note.)
“Mario and Emanuele Galbusera (the owners of the Lampre company) made it happen. They knew that I wanted to end my career in their jersey and they wanted it too. There was a kind of two-way promise between us,” Simoni told Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.
We’ll always remember Simoni’s hooligans, his crazy fans that cheered him up the climbs in the 2001 Giro. Wladimir Belli was so ticked off he punched one of the bozos while climbing.
After his second Giro win, Simoni boldly claimed he could “take Armstrong in the mountains,” of the Tour de France. We all know how that turned out. The Texan crushed everyone including Gilberto on his way to another Tour victory.
We also recall the hilarity surrounding Simoni’s cocaine positive, which he claimed was caused by a South American homeopathic lozenges his aunt had given him for a sore throat. Police actually believed him — another win for the straight shooter.
But mostly we’ll remember a tough rider who always put his head down and climbed hard. He took care of business, he trained hard, he worked like an animal on every mountaintop finish. The man knew how to grit his teeth.