Petacchi and Lloyd to head Lampre-ISD team in Santos Tour Down Under
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Petacchi and Lloyd to head Lampre-ISD team in Santos Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 6:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Italian to make debut in race as part of Milan-Sanremo buildup

Alessandro PetacchiThe Australian climber Matthew Lloyd and top sprinter Alessandro Petacchi will head the Lampre-ISD team at the Santos Tour Down Under next month, with the duo’s presence being confirmed today.

Both riders took major jerseys in 2010 and are aiming to return after quieter seasons in 2011. Lloyd was the King of the Mountains in last year’s Giro d’Italia, while Petacchi picked up the Tour de France Green jersey two months later.

They should both be a major draw in Australia, earning the team a lot of attention.

Petacchi wants to try to once again win the Milan-Sanremo Classic, which he previously took in 2005. Although he’ll turn 38 on January 3rd, he knows that he is one of the sport’s fastest riders when in strong condition, and so beginning his season early could put him on the right path.

“The team staff suggested I start the season in Australia. I thought about this opportunity for a while and then I accepted,” he explained.

“I'm sure it will be a good experience that will allow me to improve my bond with my team mates. In fact, in addition to Bole and Hondo who were in the team in 2011, in the blue-fuchsia jersey there will be new team members Cimolai, Graziato and Viganò, riders that could be very important for my sprints.”

The race will give ample scope for the fastmen to duke it out, and his career debut in the race should help get the Italian ready for a strong showing in La Primaverra.

“I hope the Santos Tour Down Under will be a positive start of a course that will bring me to Milano-San Remo arrival,” he said. Lloyd is returning after a tense fallout with the Omega Pharma Lotto squad. It sacked him in April for unspecified reasons, and since then he has worked get back into strong shape. He finally secured a contract with Lampre-ISD in November.

“We're very happy that Matthew Lloyd joins Lampre-ISD, our first Aussie cyclist ever,” said directeur sportif Bruno Vicino. “It will not take long for him to become a popular member of the team and thanks to him, Lampre-ISD may begin to have many Australian fans.”

In addition to Lloyd and Petacchi, the team will also include the Slovenian Grega Bole, Italians Davide Cimolai, Massimo Graziato and Davide Viganò, plus the German rider Danilo Hondo. They will head south knowing that the weather should be far different to the chill of Europe, and that this will give them the chance to refresh their minds prior to the start of the European season, and also to hone their condition.

“The training and the competition we will have in Australia will be very important for the rest of the season,” said Vicino. In addition to Petacchi, he added that he believes Bole will also have the condition to chase a win.

The WorldTour race begins on January 15th and runs for eight days. It attracts all the top teams in the sport by virtue of its UCI ranking, but race director Mike Turtur seems particularly impressed by the Italian team.

“The Lampre-ISD team lining up at the Santos Tour Down Under has a combined 262 victories,” said Turtur. “This makes them a highly experienced team. We can expect to target the sprint finishes.”

Lampre-ISD’s team for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under:

Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
Grega Bole (SLO)
Danilo Hando (GER)
Davide Cimolai (ITA)
Massimo Graziato (ITA)
Davide Viganò (ITA)
Matthew Lloyd (AUS).

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