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Saronni's decline

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Saronni's decline

11 Jan 2018 14:45

Does anyone have insight on how Saronni went from megastar results to mostly disappointing in the remainder of his career? After the 2nd 83 Giro GC win at age 25, while he still had a few big moments (2nd in 86 Giro GC, 2 stage wins in 85 Giro, 3rd in 86 WCRR) it was a huge letdown compared to what one would expect for what should have been physical peak years (late twenties). I know he turned pro very young and had great results from day 1, did he just not want to put in the effort after 1983? He seems pretty chunky in some late career photos.
dantruong02
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11 Jan 2018 20:32

He would have been nowhere if the Giro in his years had been anywhere close to what it is today. In fact he was nowhere when there were one of 1) hard mountains close to the finish, 2) hard competition

Stelvio 1980? Hinault crushes the competition. Tre Cime 1981? Battaglin coming from winning the Vuelta wins the race. Montecampione 1982? Same as 1980. What can we say of the 1984 farce to give it to Moser? Fedaia 1987? Gavia 1988? Giau + Tre Cime 1989? Let's be serious. Saronni never finished a GT outside Italy; as a GT rider he was a joke; and so were the Giro routes when he got good results.
ice&fire
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11 Jan 2018 20:44

Leaving aside ice&fire's distortion of reality...

There were accusations of clinic-type things ruining his kidneys. He denies this, as he would whether or not they were true.

He claims that after the 83 Giro (he was ill for the last few days) digging so deep to keep the maglia rosa over the last very hard mountain stages and final TT affected him negatively for 84 and 85. It does fit the timeline as he did absolutely nothing in the 2nd half of 83 either.

In 86 he changed coach (and doctor) and had a resurgence, but then disappeared off the map for good in 87

He claims that because he had won everything he cared about - MSR, Lombardia, Worlds, Giro - and the italian teams wouldn't allow him to focus on the Tour or Vuelta*, he simply didn't care much anymore and was just collecting salary so he reverted to being the overweight lazy kid he had been as a teenager.

I watched RAI's "Dedicato a..." episode on him specifically to hear what he'd say about it, as I'm similarly curious, but Bulbarelli didn't press him much on that point

The Giro did finally get harder from 86 onward, and that would've made it far harder for him to win it, but it definitely wasn't the reason for his massive decline in all types of races.

*An aside on italian cycling during this time.

There were a huge number of italian teams during that period, all with small squads and full focus on italian races. Several had exactly the required squad of 10 starters + 1 reserve necessary to ride the Giro.

Moser would publicly ask to ride the Tour every year and be denied every year. So Saronni was limited to starting one Vuelta as Giro prep, being allowed by the team 1 stage of his choosing to go for before retiring, murdering the field on that uphill finish, and then pulling out. Moser also did only 1 Vuelta, the year before that.

You'll notice that not a single italian was on the Tour GC top 10 during the entire 1980s. Few italian teams entered and the ones that did would either have foreign leaders or more commonly just use it as another race.
User avatar GuyIncognito
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Re: Saronni's decline

12 Jan 2018 15:57

There was a post in the clinic I recently saw about this. Mentioned he gained 9 kgs but then changed docs and lost the weight and had a few decent results in 85/86. But the discipline did not hold, just to give one example there's a pic of him in 89 that is absurd http://centerlinerule.blogspot.com/2012/11/malvor-bottecchia.html
fiddlers25
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12 Jan 2018 16:34

^^
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Goodbye, Tommeke; thank you for all you have given us!
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