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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Fassa Bortolo
TEAM PROFILE
Aitor Gonzalez
Country: Italy
Team boss: Giancarlo Ferreti
Team leaders: Dario Frigo
Best Tour: 2002 - Ivan Basso 11th, white jersey
Founded at the start of the 2000 season by one of Italy's most respected team managers, they could do no wrong until May last year.

Then disaster struck after signing world number one Francesco Casagrande, who was thrown out of the Giro d'Italia for punching another rider and causing a crash.

He failed to make the Tour de France and has since made the switch to Lampre.

In his absence, Ivan Basso led the team's intentions in the individual event with an impressive 11th overall.

All eyes will be on Basso once more but it remains unclear whether he or new co-leaders Dario Frigo and Aitor Gonzalez will get the full backing of the team.

Gonzalez has been known for causing in-fighting in the past, after reportedly ignoring team pleas to assist Oscar Sevilla in La Vuelta while at Kelme.

As it was, the fiesty Spaniard made up for it by winning the event and could yet be saved for that again this year.

Frigo and Basso should help push in the overall classification, while Sven Montgomery looks a strong bet in the mountains.

Fabio Baldato has the most potential for a breakaway stage win.

The legendary Giancarlo Ferreti is still at the head of the team and has been managing cycling teams since the 1970s. He is renowned in the sport as a tactical genius.

So when Fassa Bortolo wanted a team to rival fellow Italian building materials' firm Mapei, they knew where to look for a boss.





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