SAVOLDELLI: I LEFT ASTANA BECAUSE OF BRUYNEEL

Paolo Savoldelli Giro st20

Paolo Savoldelli has revealed that Johan Bruyneel?s arrival at Astana was enough to prompt him to leave.

Savoldelli joined Discovery Channel in 2005 and went on to be the surprise winner of the Giro d?Italia with a daredevil descent and heroic ascent to Sestrières to his pink jersey.

Later that summer he helped Lance Armstrong win his seventh and final Tour de France, taking a stage win at Revel in the process.

The following year he could finish only fifth in the Giro behind a rampaging Ivan Basso.

In 2007, Savoldelli rode for Astana but he failed to make an impact at the Giro until the penultimate stage, when he won the time trial at Verona. His Tour de France was ended prematurely when the Astana team was asked to leave following Alexandre Vinokourov?s positive dope test.

He rejected the option to renew his contract at Astana, choosing to join the smaller Italian team, LPR, where Danilo Di Luca will be one of his team-mates.

And he has explained that the decision to install Bruyneel as team manager forced him to look elsewhere.

?As soon as he joined Astana, I decided to leave. He still owes me my share of the prize money from the 2005 Tour we won with Discovery. Also, he was just never honest with me,? said Savoldelli.

Who are Cycle Sport?s Villains of the Year. Find out in the January issue, on sale Thursday, December 6

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