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Last hurrah for two-time Grand Tour champion
Lampre-Farnese Vini team management today confirmed today that Gilberto Simoni will be competing in the upcoming Giro d'Italia for their squad.
The winner of the 2001 and 2003 editions of the Italian tour had announced in April that he would end his career in his home Tour with the Lampre team, but then shed doubt on that decision a week later after failing to find good form in the Giro del Trentino.
Simoni will be reuinted with his former teammate and rival Damiano Cunego as well as sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, Danilo Hondo, Matteo Bono, David Loosli, Marco Marzano, Daniele Righi and Alessandro Spezialetti.
At 38, Simoni will be the oldest rider on the team and one of the most experienced Giro riders in the peloton, having competed in 13 editions of the race.
In 2004, Simoni was aiming for his third win in the Giro when his younger then-Saeco teammate Cunego emerged as the stronger rider and he claimed the overall victory. The inter-squad rivalry was the subject of intense press scrutiny, although the two remained together when the team was re-named when Lampre came on board in 2005.
The two went into the 2005 Giro as co-leaders, but Cunego faded from contention and was later diagnosed with mononucleosis. Simoni placed second overall to fellow Italian Paolo Savoldelli.
In 2006, Simoni was third behind Ivan Basso and Jose Enrique Gutierrez. He did not make the podium the following year, but enjoyed a win on the Monte Zoncolan on stage 17 over teammate Leonardo Piepoli and went on to place fourth overall.
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