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Gianni Savio: “Nibali was the strongest, Rui Costa was the smartest”

After the World Championships, I talked for a couple of minutes with Gianni Savio, the manager of Androni Giocattoli, and also commissario tecnico for the national team of Venezuela. Here is what he had to say about the 80th edition of the competition and the plans of his commercial team for the next seasons.

– Mister Savio, are you happy with the Venezuelan riders in this World Championships?

I am satisfied, because Yonder Godoy was in the breakaway, and his action meant a good promotion for Venezuela all over the world. I explained to him in the morning of the race that it was important to go in the first breakaway. It was also important for him, because it was not easy, especially for a young rider, let’s not forget he is only 20 years old. So, compliments to him! You remember the objectives were to have two riders at the finish, Carlos Ochoa and Jackson Rodriguez. Unfortunately, they were involved in two crashes, had mechanical problems, so they retired. We felt sorry for this, because we prepared very well the World Championships, but the race was very difficult: 25 nations didn’t finish it, 147 riders abandoned, among them the winner of the Tour de France and the winner of the Vuelta, the 2011 World Champion and the winner of the 2008 Olympics. I think that without the crashes we would have finished the race with our two riders.

– Do you think that the course was harder the most of the riders expected? We could see that the Classics riders had problems.

As I said before, Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert were the main favorites, so I must say I was surprised to see them distanced on the climbs. Still, let’s not forget that in a one-day race anything can happen. Overall, I don’t think the course was the main problem, but the rain, that caused many difficulties and crashes.

– What do you think of the fight for gold?

Vincenzo Nibali prepared very well the race, but he had bad luck, because he could have won the rainbow jersey, if not for that crash. Regarding Spain, it is unbelievable, really unbelievable what happened with that team. Alejandro Valverde should have followed Rui Costa, his lack of reaction was a big mistake. On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t a mistake and he didn’t have the legs to go. Only Valverde can answer this question.

– Were you surprised by Rui Costa?

Not really, because he won the Tour de Suisse twice and also stages in the Tour de France. People know he is a good rider. In Firenze, the strongest rider was Nibali, and Rui Costa was the most intelligent.

– Mister Savio, the world champion will ride for an Italian team next year, but let me ask you: what’s the future of cycling in this country, with so many financial problems?

I really don’t know. As I see it, anything can happen in the near future. Concerning us, we are relaxed: Androni sent to the UCI all the documents for the registration as a Pro Continental team next season, while in 2015 or 2016 we could step up in the World Tour.

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