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ROME, Italy (AFP) — Italian cycling great Francesco Moser has ridiculed compatriot Mario Cipollini’s claims he could make a return to the peloton at the age of 45.
Former world champion Cipollini, known as much for his flamboyant outfits as the success he gleaned as one of the world’s top sprinters, said on Tuesday he aimed to return to competition to guide up-and-coming sprinter Andrea Guardini at the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team.
Moser, a former world hour record-holder, however, believes Cipollini should accept the end of his career. The “Lion King” retired in 2005 before making a short but unfulfilled comeback three years later.
“Come on Mario! Think about it a little bit then come and have a nice leisurely ride with me,” Moser, 60, quipped in the Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s a joke, I really don’t believe it.”
Moser, who beat the world hour record in 1984, celebrated the feat by getting back on his bike 10 years later.
But he remarked: “It’s true I also had a little spell back on the bike. It was in 1994 and I was 42, but there’s a major difference: I didn’t have a team and so I was riding for myself.”
Cipollini’s claims on Tuesday have since been met with scorn from Farnese team boss Luca Scinto, who told Tuttobiciweb: “I respect Cipollini as a champion and a man… but this really seems like a joke to me… What can I say? As long as I’m in charge of this team, it’s not up for discussion.”
Moser added: “There’s a time and place for everything.”