Italian teams “pronto” for Saturday’s Strade Bianche
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Italian teams “pronto” for Saturday’s Strade Bianche

by Ben Atkins at 3:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Montepaschi Strade Bianche
Half of those invited from the home nation; keen to impress in RCS Sport’s first race of the year

strade biancheSaturday’s Strade Bianche will be the first of this year’s races run by Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport. The 190km course between Gaiole in Chianti and the Piazza del Campo in Siena will cross 57.2km of Tuscany’s iconic white roads, which has already earned it the nickname of ‘Italy’s Paris-Roubaix’.

Six of the fourteen teams invited to the race are Italian [although three of them are registered in the UK and Ireland - ed], with both of the country’s first division ProTeams, and all but one of it’s second division Professional Continental teams on the start list. While not all of them boast one of the top contenders for victory, all will be keen to impress RCS Sport and justify their selection.

Lampre-ISD putting faith in experience and local knowledge

Lampre-ISD is not sending any of its biggest riders to the race, with Damiano Cunego and Michele Scarponi both planning to peak for the Tour de France in July, and the race not suiting the characteristics of super-sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. Nevertheless, the blue-fuchsia team expects its lesser known riders to perform well in the white road race.

"We're not in the list of the top favourites for this race, but I'm sure that we'll be able to perform a good race,” said directeur sportif Sandro Lerici. “[Przemyslaw] Niemiec is willing to be in the head of the race and the short hills could be suitable for his characteristics, [Manuele] Mori knows the course very well and [Vitaliy] Buts has shown in the past that he's competitive on the dirty roads.”

Lampre-ISD for Strade Bianche
Vitaliy Buts, Davide Cimolail, Massimo Graziato, Dmytro Krivtsov, Adriano Malori, Manuele Mori, Przemyslaw Niemiec and Davide Viganò.

Liquigas-Cannondale sending its big guns to Tuscany

Italy’s other ProTeam, Liquigas-Cannondale, is sending some of its top riders to the race however, with Giro d’Italia second place Vincenzo Nibali, Slovakian champion Peter Sagan, and prodigious young talent Moreno Moser all set to ride.

Liquigas-Cannondale for Strade Bianche
Federico Canuti, Mauro Da Dalto, Kristjan, Alan Marangoni, Moreno Moser, Vincenzo Nibali, Daniel Oss and Peter Sagan

Farnese Vini-Selle Italia behind Gatto as Pozzato’s recovery continues

The Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team will be led by Giro d’Italia stage winner Oscar Gatto, who hopes to be present when the action starts. The 27-year-old finshed seventh in last year’s edition of the race, and hopes to go even better this time.

"Strade Bianche is my first goal of the season and together with [team manager] Luca Scinto we have worked to be perfectly ready. I'm sure that this type of race is perfect for me, because I also finished well in the Orvieto stage of the 2011 Giro d’Italia. I feel good and I'm ready, let's see what verdict the road will give."

The race will also be another step in the recovery of the team’s Classics captain Filippo Pozzato, who broke his collarbone in a crash at the Tour of Qatar on February 9th.

Farnese Vini-Selle Italia for Strade Bianche
Luca Ascani, Diego Caccia, Francesco Failli, Elia Favilli, Oscar Gatto, Kevin Hulsmans, Luca Mazzanti and Filippo Pozzato

Acqua & Sapone welcomes Betancur back to Europe; unites Di Luca and Garzelli for the first time

The Strade Bianche will be the first race of the year for Acqua & Sapone’s Colombian Carlos Betancur, who will be working on his sharpness ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts the following Wednesday. The race will also see the team’s two former Giro d’Italia winners, Danilo Di Luca and Stefano Garzelli, racing in the same team for the first time.

Acqua & Sapone team for Strade Bianche
Carlos Betancur, Paolo Ciavatta, Claudio Corioni, Danilo Di Luca, Stefano Garzelli, Francesco Ginanni, Danilo Napolitano and Francesco Reda

Recent performance bodes well for Utensilnord-Named

Utensilnord-Named was granted a last minute invitation after the withdrawal of Rusvelo; while it is another team that lacks a real favourite for the race - although Patxi Vila was present in the front group of nineteen riders in last year’s edition - recent form points towards a good performance from the team.

"It's a race difficult to interpret, which makes it very interesting,” said directeur sportif Marco Tabai, “because you have to be ready all the time for the unforeseen events that may arise. I am confident we can do well with the team that we are bringing, who have already shown themselves well in previous tests.”

Utensilnord-Named for Strade Bianche
Paolo Bailetti, Gabriele Bosisio, Edoardo Girardi , Adrian Kurek, Gianluca Maggiore, Davide Mucelli, Federico Rocchetti and Patxi Vila

No big names for Colnago-CSF Inox but all eyes on Battaglin

Colnago-CSF Inox will be riding its first edition of the Strade Bianche, and will be fielding its usual, very youthful team. Sprinter Sacha Modolo is the most experienced, but most eyes will be on the prodigious neo-pro Enrico Battaglin, who finished third in Sunday’s GP Lugano.

Colnago-CSF Inox for Strade Bianche
Enrico Battaglin, Gianluca Brambilla, Sonny Colbrelli, Marco Coledan, Sacha Modolo, Angelo Pagani, Andrea Pasqualon and Andrea Piechele


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