Less than 48 hours before the start of the 2012 edition, Michele Scarponi was finally awarded the 2011 trophy at a pre-race press conference and vowed to win this year’s edition “for good”.
Scarponi was only crowned 2011 Giro champion after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following the Spaniard’s clenbuterol saga. Contador was also handed a backdated two-year ban and will miss this year’s race.
Now, having had his name engraved on the Giro trophy, Lampre-ISD’s team leader, who finished eighth in Liège–Bastogne–Liège last month, has set his sights on securing overall victory in Milan on May 27.
“I’ll put [the trophy] in the team’s truck for now and I’ll decide at the end of the Giro where to present it in my house,” said Scarponi. “I don’t like to become the winner in these circumstances. My dream is to raise my arms up in the air in Milan with the trophy. If I can achieve that, the emotion will be huge and totally different. I don’t want to think too much that I own this trophy now. I prefer to focus on the coming Giro. I want to win this one for good.”
Scarponi goes into the first Grand Tour of the season as bookies favourites ahead of Ivan Basso but the 32-year-old believes it will be an open race decided in the mountain in the final week.
“It’s a different Giro this year without any absolute favourite like Contador,” he added. “Our chances to win are more or less equal. The first week of the race will help us understand which riders and which teams will be ruling the event.
“Clearly, the first part will be the hardest to control. Last year when I started the Giro, I thought I’d be closer to Contador than I eventually was but I was also possibly too advanced in terms of physical condition. This year, I’ve started the season on a quieter note because the Giro will be decided in the last week. I feel good. I’m serene.”