Simoni: I want to win on the Alpe

Having joined Spanish team Saunier Duval to guarantee himself in the major events next season, Gilbe

Having joined Spanish team Saunier Duval to guarantee himself in the major events next season, Gilbe


Although Gilberto Simoni's main objective next season with his new Saunier Duval team will be the Giro d'Italia, the 34-year-old Italian has admitted that his dream would be to win a summit finish at the Tour de France, particularly the one at Alpe d'Huez.

Speaking to AS during a visit to Spain to tie up the final details of his Saunier move, Simoni revealed that he had received offers from team boss Mauro Gianetti in the past and had "no doubts about signing for Saunier Duval" after Giancarlo Ferretti's Sony Ericsson team hopes vanished. "I was convinced both by Mauro and by the fact the team is in the ProTour, because that is where the best races are, the ones I want to take part in. I had offers in Italy, but they were only able to guarantee a place in the Giro," Simoni explained.

The veteran Italian has agreed a programme with Gianetti that focuses on the Giro, "and after that we will see". Of the Tour, he said "it's too soon to talk about that, although it's very possible I will be there, which is what the team wants. This is a good team, with some good young riders like Jos Gomez Marchante. If the chance is there, I would like to offer my experience to them because it could be decisive in this Tour, where the second half of the race is so tough."

Although he talked up being very much a team man, at least as far as the Tour is concerned, Simoni did admit he would like to win a mountain stage at the Tour. He was victorious in the Pyrenees at Loudenvielle in the 2003 race, but has yet to take a summit victory. "I dream of winning at Alpe d'Huez," he said. "It's a mythical mountain and victory there guarantees you a place in history."

Signed to a one-year contract, Simoni was unable to say whether 2006 will be his last in the sport, but did reveal that "I am sure that I will finish my career in the Saunier Duval jersey."

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