It’s funny what sticks in your head. I clearly remember a show on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom where they followed an aging lion. In the beginning of the show, we see the proud leader of his pride, vanquishing old foes. Later as the show progressed, the lion began to show his age making his reign susceptible to a coup.
That’s just what happened. A younger lion decided to challenge for the throne. While the older lion put up a valiant effort, youth prevailed and the aged king was cast out of the pride. He managed to lead a smaller pride until he was usurped yet again. The show ended with the death of an old solitary lion.
In reading today’s edition of Cyclingnews, I can’t get that show out of my head. In this remake of that old TV classic, we have Gilberto Simoni as the lead Saunier Duval team. Gilberto certainly has earned his spot among Giro legends. Seven podiums and two wins are already in the bank. But remember when he was king of the much bigger Saeco team? In 2004, Gilberto led his pride of red-clad riders to the line as defending champion. Then young upstart, Damiano Cunego attacked his own leader to take the title away. After the race, Gliberto was cast aside and Cunego became the new King.
Listen to the words of Simoni’s teammate, 23 year old Riccardo Ricci.
“I want to be at the same level as Simoni and help him win the Giro. I hope for a stage win, maybe at Montevergine, Genova or the mountain time trial to Oropa. Tre Cime or Zoncolan? I don’t know; it would be great though!”
These words sound a lot like like the words of a young Cunego in 2004. Just looking to help with the hope of a stage win.
Should Gilberto watch his back?