- Category : Cyclist
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/6 - Martyr / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (10,29)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Maya 2
Stefano Garzelli (born 16 July 1973) is an Italian former professional road racing cyclist, who competed as a professional between 1997 and 2013. The high point of his career was his overall win in the 2000 Giro d'Italia, after a close three-way competition with Gilberto Simoni and Francesco Casagrande.
Born in Varese, Garzelli started out as being a domestique for Marco Pantani but proved in 2000 that he deserved much more. When "The Pirate" lacked form in the beginning of the 2000 Giro, Garzelli was left free of all team duties for Mercatone Uno-Albacom, and was able to fight and win his own battle in the Giro. In the final time-trial stage Garzelli took the race leadership away from Casagrande, who was suffering an inflamed sciatic nerve. Casagrande was devastated, and Garzelli dedicated his win to Pantani.
He was a versatile rider with qualities that included decent sprinting, decent time trials and some good skills in the mountains. Without being a great attacker, Garzelli was very constant and, on a good day, he could go with the best climbers.
After his win of the 2000 Giro d'Italia he was recruited by the Italian super-team Mapei-Quick Step in 2001, aiming to repeat his 2000 Giro success. The start of the season showed promise, with Garzelli being a key player in teammate Paolo Bettini's win in Liège–Bastogne–Liège, with Garzelli himself finishing second. The finale of the race saw Bettini and Garzelli make tactical moves to benefit from each other's aggressions and saw them finish the race with a comfortable margin to decide the win amongst themselves.
However, Garzelli was caught in the 2002 doping scandal in the Giro d'Italia, and was forced out of the race. Many believe that the circumstances of his suspension prompted the Mapei boss Giorgio Squinzi to terminate his sponsorship of the team at the end of the year. "The exclusion of Garzelli, who tested positive for a masking agent, wasn't a normal thing. At the start nothing was found. Later, as soon as he won a stage, a forbidden substance came out all of a sudden. That's bizarre," said Squinzi in an interview.
Garzelli was able to mount a come-back for the 2003 Giro d'Italia and was able to challenge eventual winner Gilberto Simoni in the race.
In December 2012, Garzelli signed a one-year contract with the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team for the 2013 season, and retired thereafter.