Savio vows no third chance for Rujano
That is how Gianni Savio, team manager of Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela, recounted the Friday abandon of José Rujano, shaking his head.
Much to Savio’s dismay, Rujano clicked out of his pedals before the day’s first climb and pulled the plug on the 2012 Giro d’Italia. For Savio, who offered the down-on-his-luck Venezuelan a lifeline last season, that’s the end of the line.
“Thankfully, his contract with us ends at the conclusion of the season,” Savio said. “I was the one who brought him to Europe and nursed him through the 2005 Giro, when he was third. After all of his problems, no one wanted to touch him. And then I gave him a second chance last season. After this, there will be no more chances. We are finished.”
Savio was at the end of his tether with Rujano, who came out of nowhere to almost win the 2005 Giro. Since then, he’s struggled with form, motivation, contracts and insistent managers.
After a solid season back with Savio in 2011, Rujano was pumping up his chances for this year’s Giro, talking up the podium and maybe even an overall victory.
Savio saw it like this: “He didn’t do a thing during this Giro. When he came to the start, he was singing to all the world that he was going to win stages, reach the podium, even win! My team doctor, who is a very serious man, told me that he saw no physical problems that would keep him from continuing. Rujano has a sore throat, but so do I! He said he didn’t feel good and simply quit.”
Savio pointed out that José Serpa is likely going to finish this Giro with a broken bone in his hand and that Emanuele Sella, who has been on antibiotics for a week, was in Friday’s main breakaway.
“We asked him, during the stage to Cortina, to demonstrate something for his pride. And what does he do? He finished more than 30 minutes back!” the exasperated Savio said. “We asked him again today to show his character. And what does he do? He quits.”
Savio says he’s done with Rujano. For the remainder of the season, he has a new star to hitch his horse to: Franco Pellizotti, who joined the Pro Continental team when his two-year doping ban ended just days before the Giro.