Michele Scarponi joining Lampre, Footon-Servetto courts sponsor, Damiano Cunego
Michele Scarponi's arrival at Lampre may see Damiano Cunego leave for Footon-Servetto.
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The game of musical chairs has already begun among Italian teams, but Footon-Servetto says its deal with Italian shoemaker Geox is far from secure.
Lampre announced this weekend that Michele Scarponi will join the team for 2011 with the goal of winning the Giro d’Italia. Scarponi, sanctioned for two years after admitting his role in the Operación Puerto blood doping scandal, won a stage and finished fourth overall at the 2010 Giro.
“Scarponi is a rider who can excite the fans, he’s a real fighter and he’s proven himself in weeklong stage races and grand tours,” said Lampre team manager Giuseppe Sarroni. “Aiming to win the Giro will be the principal goal for 2011.”
Scarponi’s arrival will further cement the likely departure of Damiano Cunego, who was linked last week to a move to Footon-Servetto.
Cunego won the 2004 Giro, but has since struggled to match his early grand tour success. He continues to be an aggressive rider and has consistently performed at a high level in one-day races and in figuring into breakaways at the Tour de France.
Footon-Servetto sport director Joxean Matxin Fernández told VeloNews over the weekend that the deal to bring in new title sponsor Geox is not yet finalized.
“We hope it works out because it would be an important sponsor for the future of the team, but nothing is confirmed yet,” he said.
The Italian media reported last week that Geox was poised to back the Spanish-based team with a major budget, enough to sign Cunego and other top-rank riders.