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Gianni Savio: “We have huge ambitions for 2014”

2013 was a mixed season for Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela: the Italian team had 13 wins, but non of these was in the Giro, its main goal. On the other hand, Androni made sure of receiving of a wild card for the 2014 Corsa Rosa, thanks to the results it had in the Coppa Italia throughout the year. For next season, Androni transferred no less than eight riders, and despite some of them being very young and at their debut as pros, manager Gianni Savio hopes to see them score more wins than the total his Pro Continental team had in the previous year.

– Mister Savio, what were the best moments of the year for Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela?

We had many good moments during this season, because we honoured all the races, starting in January with the Tour of San Luis, where Mattia Gavazzi won a stage, then in April, with Alessandro Malaguti in the Route Adélie de Vitré. Also, even if we didn’t won a stage, we were protagonists in the Giro, where our team had a record: 1680 kilometres spent in the breakaway. After the Giro, another important win was that of Marco Frapporti in stage four of the Route du Sud, followed by the overall triumph of Carlos Ochoa in the Vuelta a Venezuela, where we also scored two stage wins. Finally, in September, we won the Gran Premio Industria & Commercio di Prato with Gianfranco Zilioli.

– Were you disappointed not to win the Coppa Italia?

We were second at the end of the season, but that only because there was a stratospheric, an extraordinary Diego Ulissi who won three of the last four races. Still, we are happy, because thanks to that result we received a wild card for the next Giro d’Italia.

– Which of Androni’s riders surprised you this season?

I have to say Gianfranco Zilioli. He is a young rider, very talented and was very impressive with his win in the Gran Premio Industria & Commercio di Prato, where we must not forget he was racing as a stagiaire.

– Let’s talk about the transfers for next season.

We have many very good young riders, and I’m very happy. These riders are Gianfranco Zilioli, Andrea Zordan, the U23 Italian champion, and Yonder Gondoy, who won the U23 time trial title in Venezuela. People noticed him in the World Championships, where he was in the breakaway for more than 100 kilometres, despite being the youngest rider in the race, just 20 years old. There is a big chance for Zordan and Zilioli to ride the Giro next season, but first we must see their condition.

– And how about the transfers of Johnny Hoogerland and Kenny Van Hummel? Do you hope they will bring you wild cards for the Ardennes?

We wanted to broaden our horizons, our philosophy, and to adapt to the reform of international cycling, that’s why we signed them. You know that there will be some changes, and we must be prepared to go in races from Northern Europe. We have faith in Van Hummel for the sprints, while Hoogerland brings a good image for the team, as he is very aggressive, very combative in races. Androni and Hoogerland share the same mentality. And yes, we hope to be in some of the Ardennes Classics, as we have huge ambitions for 2014.

– Are you still interested in signing Franco Pellizotti?

I want him, but that doesn’t mean there will be a new contract, but an extension of the previous one. The things should be clearer this week, but I want him in the team for next season.

– Speaking of 2014, who can be the surprise of Androni?

Besides Andrea Zordan and Gianfranco Zilioli, I would have to say Diego Rosa. He can be one of the captains of the team in the Giro, not a “domestique”, as was the case in 2013. Anyway, all these riders are combative and I’m sure they can shine next season.

– What are the chances for Androni te be a World Tour team in the following years?

I am in negotiations with the Venezuelan Government and I’ll have an important meeting at the beginning of next year. Artemio Leonett, the president of the Federation, is very interested, as is Alejandra Benitez, the Minister for Sport. They are willing to invest, and I hope we will have a World Tour team for 2016, which is an Olympic year. Things are looking good so far: you know we have that project developed for young Venezuelan riders, thanks to which we discovered Yonder Godoy and Carlos Gimenez, who has the potential of becoming a Grand Tour contender in the future. For now, he will ride for Maltinti, a U23 team, and he will join us in 2015. I want to discover other young riders in the future, so it’s very important to have a World Tour structure.

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