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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Vini Caldirola
TEAM PROFILE
Stefano Garzelli
Nationality: Italian
Manager: Mauro Gianetti
Team leader: Stefano Garzelli
Best Tour: n/a
The Italian team may well have spent much of their efforts on the Giro d'Italia.

But, despite that, they could be one of the more exciting line-ups this time around.

Effectively the backbone of the team is the same as last year's Tacconi Sport only with a changed sponsor.

However, one major difference is the arrival of Stefano Garzelli, who returned to action in some style at the Giro after his drugs ban.

Garzelli, winner of the 2001 race, was suspended in 2002 after testing positive for the banned diuretic probenecid.

After his second place in this year's Giro, he should at least be a contender for the top 20 in the Tour de France, depending how his body copes with pushing strongly in two Grand Tours.

He looks likely to get ample support from a team which has already impressed throughout much of 2003.

In the World Cup Classics to date this season, the team have picked up plenty of points.

Latvian Romans Vainsteins was sixth in the Paris-Roubaix and then 18th in the Tour of Flanders.

Team-mate Eddy Mazzoleni, meanwhile, was ninth in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, with Gianluca Bartolami coming in 11th in the Milan-san-Remo.

All three riders should provide major back-up in the Tour as well as American Fred Rodriguez and Slovakian Andrej Hauptman.

Surely it is only a matter of time before Hauptman picks up a stage win.

In the opening seven stages of last year's race he finished sixth, fourth, 11th and 10th twice.





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